After capturing his 15th major title in Wimbledon this year and breaking Pete Sampras’ record, Roger Federer can finally relax. If he wants to break any more records from now own, he will have to surpass himself! This has been an odd year for the Swiss. After a slow start, for his standards, and a first semester full of frustrating results and one smashed racket in Miami, the great champion went on to win his first French Open, tying Sampras’ record and two weeks later broke the record on the grass of Wimbledon, in a sequence that was not predicted by the greatest expert.
After all these great accomplishments, one can’t help to think about what else he wants. What are his goals and where will he find motivation from now on? He says he is not thinking at all about retirement and still wants to play for many more years. After finally getting the 15th Grand Slam title monkey off his back, I believe he will play much more relaxed and can go on to take a few more majors.
The only feat he hasn’t accomplished yet could be a unique one in history. Winning a calendar Grand Slam, that is capturing the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same year. If he does it he will be first player to win them on three different surfaces (cement, clay and grass) in the same calendar year. Donald Budge and Rod Laver did it on two different surfaces (grass and clay).
As tough as it may sound, lets remember that Federer was twice one match away from taking a calendar Grand Slam, in 2006 and 2007. On both occasions he lost to Rafael Nadal in the finals of Roland Garros, and won the other three.
The greatest challenge he will face, however, may not be winning more tournaments and breaking more records, but knowing when to stop. If he keeps playing, it is inevitable that he will start not winning everything at some point and will have to give up the throne and accept defeats more often than he is used to. He will have to choose between keep doing what he loves so much for an extended period of time or stopping while he is still on the top of the game.
As of now he seems to be willing to keep on competing, which is great news for us, fans. I wonder, however, if the thought of not being at the spotlight ever crossed his mind. Even the top players have to accept the natural course of things and understand that young guys will take the top eventually.
It could be that once again Federer is ahead of everyone and not worrying too much about how he is going to go out of the game. After all, at the end of the day it seems that players tend to be remembered for what they did throughout their playing times, more than for at what stage of their careers they retired. And one thing is definite: Roger Federer assured a place in the history of the sport that may be unparalleled for many years to come.