Having played only five matches in the last four months, what are Federer’s chances of lifting his 18th Grand Slam title in Paris this year?
At 34 Roger Federer’s career has been relatively injury-free. Since turning professional he’s yet to miss a Grand Slam tournament, amounting to 65 successive appearances. Winning 88 titles, 17 of which being Grand Slams, Federer is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Yet in a career which has spanned over 16 years Federer’s body appears to be finally giving up on him.
In a frustrating 2016 season, Federer has suffered numerous injuries. Being restricted to only two tournament appearances since January, the Swiss is going into the French Open severely under-prepared. Requiring surgery on a knee injury in February, it wasn’t until two months later that the world number three was able to play again.
Easing back to fitness Federer was able to reach the Quarter Finals of the Monte Carlo Open before being knocked out in a three set defeat to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Pleased to have got through the tournament unscathed, it wasn’t until three weeks later that Federer suffered another setback before playing in the Madrid Masters. Injuring his back he was forced to withdraw from a key warm-up tournament for the French Open.
In Rome, the last Masters tournament before Roland Garros, Federer managed to reach the last 16 before being knocked out in straight sets by the young Austrian, Dominic Thiem. Losing 6-7, 6-4 this was Federer’s final chance before Roland Garros to prove he’d be fit enough to play in Paris. Admitting the Rome Masters was an “information tournament”, Federer went on reluctantly acknowledging that his chances of winning the French Open are “not great”.
On top of his lack of practice and injury problems, Federer’s chances of victory in Paris have lessened as big names such as Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have started to hit top form.
Particularly with Federer’s old rival Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard has experienced something of a career revival this season. Winning two clay tournaments in preparation for the French Open, the Spanish ‘King of Clay’ is now one of the hot favorites to take the title in Paris this year. Whilst Rafael Nadal is second favorite to win at 3/1, Federer has slumped to sixth favorite at 22/1.
With all the injuries and the amount of preparation Federer has had, it’s unlikely the Swiss will triumph in France this year. However if there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the past few seasons it’s to never write Federer out too early. At 22/1 Roger Federer could be a good outside bet for any risk takers, he’s certainly capable of such a feat and will be keen to prove his doubters wrong.
(Images sourced from Wikipedia and Flickr)