by Umarah Naz
So, another tennis season is over. I’m having Federer withdrawal symptoms already and he only played a few days ago! I’m sure my fellow Fed fans are all feeling the same. Still a little upset at what might have been in the ATP London final but immensely proud of our man. It was literally a point here or there. I could so easily have been writing about his 7th year end title. But when you look at Roger’s 2012 as a whole, it’s been an amazing achievement. His goals for the year were to win a Grand Slam and regain the world number one ranking, which many thought he couldn’t do. Roger Federer had other ideas. Roger Federer is a champion.
His year started with disappointment as he had to withdraw from the Qatar Open with a back injury. Then followed a semi final loss at the first Grand Slam of the year to old foe Rafael Nadal. A 16 match winning streak ensued with tournament wins at Rotterdam, Dubai and the first Masters 1000 of the year, Indian Wells. Only a third round defeat at the hands of Andy Roddick in Miami brought that win streak and the first hard court spell of the year to an end.
The inaugural blue clay in Madrid was a cause of outrage for Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Both blamed the new surface for their early round losses. Federer, being the consummate professional, continued to ease through the tournament with the minimum of fuss. His reward was a 20th Masters title and a record 32nd Masters final. Yes. Another record. Cap all that off with a rise in the world rankings to number two. A semi final loss in Rome, however, saw that rise to be short lived. The second Grand Slam of the year saw Federer succumb to Novak Djokovic in yet another major semi final. He is, and always has been, the epitome of consistency.
In June came Federer’s favourite surface. Grass. It’s where he feels most comfortable and where he’s had the most success. The first tournament he has won five times and he looked like a sure thing again when he faced Tommy Haas in the Halle final. But an inspired performance by the German saw him take the title that Federer had owned.
Moving on to the plush green grass of SW19 that has so many wonderful memories for Federer. His breakthrough Grand Slam title, five back to back titles, his record breaking 15th major after an epic 2009 final. Maybe a few more that I’ve forgotten. Forgive me as there are so many to remember! When he reached his 8th Wimbledon final there was a lot on the line. A 17th Grand Slam and a return to world number one. A return that would see him break Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks at the top spot. Federer was one week short at 285 and a win would seal that elusive record and silence many critics in the process. One win would achieve the targets he’d set for himself at the beginning of the year. The pressure was immense for both finalists, as Andy Murray set to achieve that which no British man had done for 76 years. After a shaky start, Federer’s class and skill prevailed. The relief was palpable. Andy Murray would have his revenge three weeks later on that very court at the London Olympics. Still, Federer was overjoyed with his silver medal for his beloved Switzerland.
The US hard court swing began in August but Federer pulled out of Toronto blaming a packed summer schedule. He needed rest and it worked. Cincinnati saw a fresh Roger make it all the way to his 21st Masters title beating Novak Djokovic in the final, without dropping a set or his serve. Things were looking good for the world number one in the run up to the US Open. However, a disappointing loss to Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals at Flushing Meadows ended that dream prematurely. Shanghai and Basel ended with defeats in the semi finals and final respectively.
The players complaints at a short off season were upheld, and in an effort to accommodate their wishes the last three tournaments of the year were to be played back to back. Federer was faced with a dilemma. Not defending his Paris Masters title would see him drop a huge amount of ranking points. He wouldn’t make it to the end of the year as the number one, a spot he’d coveted since July. If he played he risked going into the season ending championships tired and with no realistic chance of winning. He decided to pull out, resulting in Novak Djokovic taking over the mantle as number one player in the world. He would keep it regardless of the results in the next two weeks. The decision was a painful one, but it was necessary.
London promised much for Federer. An amazing indoor record made him one of the favourites. After all he had won the “best of the best” tournament a record six times. He made it through the round robin stage despite a loss to Del Potro. A semifinal win over Andy Murray got him to his 8th final, a final that couldn’t have been any closer. Despite leading both sets, Federer lost to Djokovic. The difference between the two….one point. Djokovic: 96 points. Federer: 95 points. It would have been great to round the year off with a win but it wasn’t meant to be.
In a nutshell, it’s been a fantastic year for Roger Federer and his millions of fans around the world. Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks at number one was obliterated with 302 weeks. Who’s to say he won’t add to that next year! Six ATP titles including two Masters 500 titles, three Masters 1000 titles and Wimbledon. The only thing that may bother him slightly is that he lost the number one ranking two weeks before the end of the year, after having kept it for over four months. Despite that last little blip, I’m sure he’s probably sunning himself on a beach with his family somewhere feeling pretty pleased with himself. So he should be.
Here’s hoping he carries this form into 2013 and rewrites the history books yet again.
Roger Federer is all set this December! Watch out for him in South America and follow his schedule here: