At the Gerry Weber Open this year, NextGen sensation Alexander ‘Sascha’ Zverev was in the finals of both singles and doubles and as luck would have it, he lost both the finals. Marin Cilic found himself in the same footing as Sascha at Queen’s losing both his finals. Sascha’s brother and doubles partner Mischa had won the doubles title back in 2008. Sascha was trying to pull off what Federer had done back in 2005 at Halle, winning both the singles and doubles title but ended up doing a Marat Safin (2005).
Roger Federer avenged his loss at Halle last year by beating Sascha to win a record extending ninth title. Same time next year, Federer could be playing for a La Decima of his own (Nadal is the only player to have won a tournament ten times). Federer has also become just the second player, after Nadal, to win a tournament nine times. This was Federer’s 92nd career title and he is just two titles shy of equalling Ivan Lendl’s 94 titles (2nd in All time winners).
Halle and Queen’s are two important build-up tournaments to Wimbledon and performing well in these tournaments not only boosts a player’s morale but also impacts the seeding at Wimbledon. With a win at Halle, Federer could be seeded 3rd at Wimbledon. Out of his nine titles at Halle, Federer has been able to follow it up with a Wimbledon trophy only four times (’03-’06). Federer skipped the entire clay court season to prepare for Wimbledon and his first round loss to Tommy Haas at Stuttgart after having held a match point was a shocker. Federer would have surely speculated whether taking a break had actually helped him as he was winning pretty much everything before that. But, winning the title at Halle has surely calmed his nerves and his game is right where he wants it to be going into Wimbledon.
Both Federer and Nadal have won four titles this season so far in the same ratio. 1 Grand Slam, 2 ATP Masters and 1 ATP 500. While Nadal has already qualified for the Year-End Finale, Federer could be the second player to qualify with a deep run at Wimbledon. When a not-so-fit Federer could reach the semi-finals last year, losing to Raonic in five sets, what he could do this year at Wimbledon is just unimaginable. He might not be the swiftest guy around but nobody knows those lawns better than him. Also, he has won all the tournaments on fast courts this year. Age has not slowed him down and fast courts still aid his game.
Wimbledon is already underway as the qualifiers have already begun. Roger Federer on green grass somehow reminds me of the mighty Hulk. Federer doesn’t care who his opponent is, how well he has been playing, how many Wimbledon titles has he won. What he does know is how to SMASH!
Picture credit: http://www.indianexpress.com