Will Federer Still Ever Become No. 1?
Losing is a common occurrence among tennis players but not when you’re Roger Federer. As surprisingly as it happened, former World No. 1 Federer not only lost a game but lost his coveted rank to Rafael Nadal in August 18, 2008 when he lost early in the Canada Masters and Cincinnati Masters. Federer stayed as the No. 1 tennis player for a record 237 consecutive weeks, which took Nadal more or less the same period of time to snag the top rank.>
There were a lot of criticisms that Federer will never regain World No. 1. Losing his top rank was taken by critics as a sign that the Federer years are over, just like past tennis players who then being in the peak of their career, suddenly failed to win a Grand Slam thereafter. However, Federer’s critics were all silenced when he defended his US Open title with much ease on September 25, 2008, winning it for the 5th time and marking his 13th Grand Slam victory.
Winning the US Open added a boost of confidence to Federer, who is now placed in the most serious battle of his career and has now his focus on regaining World No. 1. But will he still ever be at the end of this season?
As of October 2008, Nadal has already accumulated 7,000 points while Federer, 5,930 after winning the US Open. Federer can still regain the World No. 1 rank but he must fill up the gap of points between him and Nadal.
The ranking of tennis players are based on the ATP ranking system. Points are earned by players depending on how they performed this year compared to the year before in the same tournaments. Four scenarios can happen: decrease in points, new points, consistent points and increase in points. A player may loose points in two instances: first, if he fails to attend and he participated the year before, he looses all the points he has and second, if he looses in the tournament earlier than he did last year. What Federer needs are the last three ones – new points, consistent points and more especially increase in points. Federer will receive new points if he joins a tournament in which he did not participate in the previous year. To retain the same points, Federer must reach the same round he has reached a year ago like. And in order for him to gain more points, he must improve on his performance compared to the last year.
But can Federer still close in the 1,070 points Nadal has over him during the last quarter of the season? Although some tennis critics say it is unlikely and difficult because Federer has more points to defend until the end of the year, even if it may be unlikely, it could have been possible so long that Federer earns maximum points and on the contrary, Nadal looses maximum points.
It was quite a surprise though that Federer did not join the recent IF Stockholm Open in Stockholm, Sweden which could have earned him fresh 225 points because it would be his first time. He pulled out earlier from the tournament to rest as he had been diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis early this year. Nadal also declined the invitation to play in Stolkholm, allowing World No. 7 and top-seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina to bring home the title after defeating Robin Soderling.
Tennis analysts say that the failure of Federer to join the Stolkholm Open marks the conclusion that Nadal will remain steadily as World No. 1 until the year ends. It is then a sure victory for Nadal and Federer practically blew all the chances of regaining the top spot this year.
However, Federer cannot afford to seat idly if he wants to reclaim the top spot. His chances of getting it back next year will be better if he ends this year by closing in points to Nadal as much as possible. After the Stolkholm this month, four tournaments can still a good source of points for Federer: Madrid, Basel, Paris and the Masters Cup in China.
October 12, 2008 is the schedule of Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid in Madrid, Spain. Last year, Federer reached the final yet lost while Nadal lost in the quarter finals. Federer can add 150 to his poll of points if he improves on his performance and wins the final.
After that, Federer’s next goal is to defend his title in the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in his hometown in Basel, Switzerland on October 20, 2008. He must win Basel or else his points will decrease for losing his title.
The next tournament for Federer is BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, France on October 26, 2008. Although last year, Nadal lost in the finals, he still has 350 points from that tournament. Federer, on the other hand, could win 425 points if he bests Nadal, who beat him in the third round last year.
Shanghai, China is the last tournament for the season where Federer must defend his Tennis Masters Cup title. Federer must win this year-end championship while Nadal must maintain or outshine his reaching the semifinal a year ago.
If he is able to appear in the last four tournaments of the year, becoming World No. 1 for the 2009 Season would be easier for him. This is a hard feat for Federer because since in the 35 years of South African Airways, only one person, Ivan Lendl, was able to recapture the number 1 spot after losing it. Lendl, after reigning as World No. 1 for 3 years, lost it in 1988 yet recaptured it in 1989. But in the case of Federer, if he was able to stay for 4 and a half years as World No.1, depriving Nadal of that for the same period of time, then there is then no reason that he can’t do it again. It is hard to be skeptical that he cannot do it because he is Federer…“The Roger Federer.”
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