Many times, experts and fans alike have retired him. And yet, he is still there and going strong.
Many times, experts (myself included) and fans have written him out of a match. And yet, most times, he has come back.
In fact, Roger Federer continues writing the history of tennis, and adding pages to the record books, like he did at the beginning of the week.
Still, there are people who think that he should retire, while his legacy remains great.
They don’t understand. The time of his retirement is his and his alone to decide. He still visibly enjoys it out there. It is still very noticeable that he loves his sport, his job, his life as a professional tennis player. So why push him out? His legacy will remain the same whether or not we are to witness his visible decline, see him out of the top 10 (which will, most likely, happen sooner or later). A lot of his records will endure, as will his years of greatness.
However, one thing is for sure: Roger Federer is like a phoenix. It has been so for many years. Regardless of how bad the patch, he has always been able to be born from his “ashes”.
If they were ashes.
Be it in 2008, when he had glandular fever. He came back stronger, winning his elusive French Open and beating Pete Sampras’s Grand Slam record in 2009.
Be it in 2010 and 2011, he managed to get back stronger, winning Wimbledon in 2012 and beating Pete Sampras’s record of number of weeks at number one.
And he is doing it again this year, after a disastrous 2013 (by his standards). He reached a major final for the first time since Wimbledon 2012. He is also, as of today, the player with the most wins of the ATP World Tour (49), and the one who has played the most finals in 2014 (8). He also played, this Sunday, his fourth consecutive final, including two in back-to-back weeks, winning two of them.
Yet there are still some who think he should retire.
Yet Roger Federer, like a phoenix, is each time born from his own glorious ashes.
And the Swiss Phoenix did it again, this Sunday. He came back from a catastrophic second set, in which he avoided the bagel by very little, to defeat David Ferrer for the 16th time and win the Cincinnati Masters 1000 for the sixth time in his career. A 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 victory that made him earn his 80th career title in style.
Incidentally, he is proving to be one of the most consistent, if not the most consistent, player on the ATP so far this season. Back in the top 3, with a fair shot at a return in the top 2, and probably the favourite coming into the U.S. Open, in view of Novak Djokovic’s recent performances, Rafael Nadal’s uncertainty of even taking part in the last Grand Slam of the season, and the inconsistency of the other top players.
Like a phoenix, Roger Federer is back again. And all this at 33 years of age.
Perhaps now is the time to, once and for all, stop doubting him.
I am including myself in that list.
(Photos: Getty Images)