Roger Federer brings down curtain on his career with a defeat, but still dazzles alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal at the All England Club
It was the perfect match of contrasting styles. It was the end of the day, the start of the night. The All England Club glowed like a new dawn, the roof open to the night sky. It was the perfect tennis, the ideal setting in which the best of us can play some of our best tennis – and with the crowd’s collective roar in full voice, it seemed there were only two ways for Federer to win.
Acknowledge his age, he had played the game as long as he possibly could. He’d made the Grand Slam finals once, with his first professional tournament coming in 2007, when he was 22 and ranked No. 7. He’d reached the final of an Olympics event one year later, then made his first Wimbledon final a year after that, where he was defeated by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
He’d won five titles in a row, reaching the Australian Open semi-finals two years after that.
For the first time in a long time, Federer was a Grand Slam champion, having won five titles in a row, one shy of a sixth set at the French Open. He’d reached his first Wimbledon final in two years, beaten by Roger Federer. And he’d reached the final of a Olympics event. Oh, and he was the No. 1-ranked player in the world, not the No. 2.
The only question was was he still the best? Did he still have the killer instinct, the competitive edge that had made him so popular for so long? Or would he finally learn the lessons of the last decade and realise that he needed to slow down, that to progress, you had to go backwards, and that he’d never