Can Roger Federer Win Olympic Gold at the Age of 39?
Roger Federer will be 39 when the Tokyo Olympics men’s tennis singles final gets underway next summer – but how sure can we be that the Swiss maestro will be there?
Federer has claimed every award worth winning in tennis. Apart from an Olympics singles gold medal, that is.
The plan for Federer to compete at Tokyo 2020 – his fifth Olympics – this summer looked on course after the veteran came through last season relatively free of injury.
He even signed a $300m, 10-year sponsorship agreement with Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo in 2018—the first major hint he would make the Games.
Federer reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open back in January, before the coronavirus outbreak brought tennis to a standstill.
Why Federer Could Win Gold in Tokyo
With the game currently on hiatus and the Olympics knocked back to 2021, there are worries the 20-time Grand Slam champion faces a race against his own body clock to make the tournament.
Bookmakers are already dropping their price on him winning gold. Can he last another year on the gruelling ATP Tour at his age?
It is a worrying conundrum for punters who love to back Federer wherever he plays. Gambling.com have therefore assessed the key points that suggest the superstar will compete next summer, and could possibly finally get his hands on the gold medal.
He Has Defied Age Before
Federer has for years defied his age to win Grand Slam titles deep into his 30s. He has swatted away retirement questions for more than a decade—during which time he has added five Slams to his creaking trophy cabinet. No pundit can write him off.
Federer’s last major title came in March 2019 when he clinched the Miami Masters crown. He has since won two 500 Series tournaments and reached the Wimbledon final. He now schedules his tour to avoid unnecessary competitions and preserve his body for as long as possible. Expect the same schedule plan next year too.
He’s Excelling in Three-Set Tournaments
Federer has not won a Grand Slam since 2018 – but remember these are five-set tournaments. Slams are a breed like no other and aid players who excel in grinding out points over marathon matches. The Olympics is a three-set competition and therefore we should look more closely at how Federer fares in those tournaments.
And the stats are good news for Federer betting fans. In 2019 he reached five finals of three-set tournaments, winning four of them. All but one was on the hard courts – the same surface as Tokyo.
Meanwhile, his run to the Wimbledon final last summer proved he can still match the best over five sets, so we can be confident he can maintain his levels over three.
Federer Has Stayed Injury Free
Injuries are the bane of tennis players – especially those on the men’s tour where gameplay is unforgiving and matches long. Federer has done remarkably well to recover from injuries and keep his body in check over the past 20 years. Can he stay injury free now? Cutting his tournament schedule will certainly help.
And six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker reckons Federer has a shot of gold if those injuries stay at bay.
“I am sad that the Olympic Games in Japan are not taking place this year,” Becker, an Ambassador of GGPoker & King, told Gambling.com.
“But Roger Federer is a phenomenon and has so far broken almost every record in tennis. As long as Roger stays healthy and plays tennis, he always has a chance to win.”
Rivals Focused On Rankings
The ATP rankings have for years been a battle between Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for the crown of World No 1. But Federer’s time at the top is now over.
Scrapping for ranking points requires playing a huge number of tournaments and defending your totals from the previous year. That’s why Federer is currently fourth in the rankings and will likely slip further.
Make no mistake, he will still play upcoming Slams. Paddy Power have Federer fixed at 6/1 to win the Australian Open in 2021 – the third favourite behind Nadal and Djokovic.
But going forward, he is unlikely to be interested in the rankings table. Federer should therefore hit Tokyo 2021 in the prime of fitness (all being well) and with very little lingering fatigue bar competing at Wimbledon.
Start Of A New Era
Longevity regarding Federer has always been a subject on which pundits and fans alike dwell on. And the Swiss may also be determined to make it to Tokyo 2021 in order to compete in the doubles and mixed doubles.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but Federer does boast a doubles gold medal from his exploits with Stan Wawrinka in Beijing 2008.
A mixed doubles gong could certainly appeal—especially with talk of the ATP and WTA joining forces once the coronavirus situation is over.
Indeed, Becker told Gambling.com he is keen to see the men and women’s tours combined into a single entity. And this is something that could aid Federer’s determination to end his career on an Olympics high note.
“I think the idea is very interesting because internationally the tennis family are all in the same boat,” Becker said. “The organisers should think about it.”
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