The start of the Australian Open has answered a few questions that many of the sport’s following had regarding the ability of the top four. No one has answered more emphatically or positively than Roger Federer who looks to be as good as he was during his prime. Then again, who can say with absolute certainty whether a player as graceful and timeless as Federer has even gone through his prime yet?Embed from Getty Images
Taylor Fritz was the latest young pro to be given short shrift by Federer as the Swiss champion beat the American in straight sets inside 90 minutes. Fritz really did look the perfect example of a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed tour player that was intent on upsetting the elder statesman but it was as early as the first few games that everyone at home and inside the Rod Laver Arena would have realized a bloodbath was in the offing.Embed from Getty Images
Federer would record a 6-2 7-5 6-2 victory over the 21-year-old and cruise into the last sixteen without breaking a sweat. It really is quite impressive when you consider that Federer is 16 years Fritz’ senior and supposedly meant to be in the twilight of his career. It was as loud a warning shot as Federer could fire to the rest of the tour and having won the Australian Open last year the omens are looking good yet again.
Novak Djokovic may still be the favourite in tennis betting at evens to win the Australian Open but Federer’s odds of 4/1 don’t seem to properly reflect the devastating form he is in. Whatever the outcome may be, punters can rest assured that the 37-year-old’s desire to win is as great as it has ever been.
When Federer was quizzed after the match as to whether his best years might still be to come he unequivocally said, “No, I don’t think so.” Tennis fans around the world have grown accustomed to examples of Federer’s wonderful sportsmanship and willingness to praise his opponents rather than soak up the limelight and his response after the match would have demonstrated yet again that he is keen to avoid the narrative being totally on him.
If he had claimed he had not yet peaked, there would have been growing pressure on him to deliver given how productive and fruitful his career has been up to this stage. Some may call it shrewd as he takes the pressure off himself by not encouraging into any sort of idea that we are about to see Federer dominate as he did in his twenties. It should be noted there is an unquestionable humility to the Swiss legend that makes it hard to tell whether in actual fact we will see an unprecedented run late into his thirties where he dominates the tour one last time.Embed from Getty Images
All tennis fans can do is call it as they see it and at this moment in time, Federer is delivering on the court in magnificent style. The time will inevitably come when that isn’t the case but from whichever angle you look at it right now, it’s impossible to see when.