With Roger Federer winning his 7th title at Wimbledon at the age of 30 years, the catcalls and comments about his age and his ability to perform at the same top level that he did for so many years might have stopped temporarily, but tennis is known to become extremely difficult as soon as one gets to 28 or 29 years of age and expecting the Swiss Master to turn back the clock once again and be the all conquering juggernaut that he once was might be farfetched.
But this 7th title for Federer has given him the scope for introspection, whether to continue playing or quit when the racket is still firing. In today’s tennis, hardly any player depends on skill and elegance with almost everyone becoming an exponent of power tennis – even the three main competitors for Roger, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray depend more on their muscles than the subtlety of an elegant drop shot. This might have contributed in Federer being able to play longer at a very high level when the likes of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi failed to maintain their high tempo after hitting 30 years of age.
Federer will return to the All England Club for the Olympic Games with his eyes on the singles Gold Medal which would complete his Golden Slam but the match against Murray showed that FedEx has lost much of his fitness and if a match drags on to five sets, it lands him at a disadvantage, especially against a younger player. He has to be worth a gamble on the US Open.
As a live tennis and Federer fan, seeing the Swiss Master struggle for two years has been painful but the victory at Wimbledon has somewhat restored the lost faith on him. Still, one would think that he should go out at the end of the season with his head held high than wait to leave with a whimper.