Roger Federer may never have a better chance to win another major than he does at Wimbledon 2014. He’s two victories away from doing so, as he enters the semifinals on Friday.
Federer has had one of the best careers in the history of the sport. He holds the all-time record with 17 Grand Slam victories, three ahead of Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal. In recent years, though, his major victories have been few and far between.
Since 2009, Federer has just one Grand Slam victory, coming at Wimbledon in 2012. The following year, he didn’t even make it past his second match at the tournament. At 32 years old, his best days are behind him, and he may never get another shot at a title like the one that has presented itself.
Two of the favorites to win the 2014 Wimbledon Championship had early exits. Last year’s winner, Andy Murray, was bounced against Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals. Nadal, who’s won three of the last five Grand Slams, didn’t make it past the Round of 16, falling to Nick Kyrgois.
Having to go up against the likes of Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Murray in each tournament will make it difficult for Federer to ever win an 18th title. The four players have set themselves apart from the rest, and Federer will look to take advantage of the situation. It won’t be often that a major tournament doesn’t include at least two of those players in the semifinals.
While Djokovic is still expected to win the title, his route to the finals is much more difficult than Federer’s. Djokovic will have to get past Dimitrov, who has already eliminated Murray. Prior to the start of the tournament, the Bulgarian was given the best odds of anyone to upset the “Big Four,” and Bovada.lv has him listed as just a +140 underdog on Friday.
Defeating Milos Raonic is certainly not a given, but a loss for Federer would be a surprise. He’s a -300 favorite against the 23-year-old.
After underperforming in 2013, Federer felt good about his chances at Wimbledon.
"This year," Federer said, prior to the tournament. "I feel all the options are there. Return, serve, serve and volley, come in, my backhand -- everything is working to my liking. For that reason, I feel I'm a bit more relaxed mentally, because I know it is there. I clearly want to do better than last year, there's no doubt about it."
Retirement might not be imminent for Federer, and he’s still among the best in the sport, but it isn’t too far away either. He’s indicated that his playing days could come to an end sooner that some think.
The French Open has been dominated by Nadal, who’s won the event nine of the last 10 times. Djokovic has been terrific at the Australian Open, winning three straight years, before Stanislas Wawrinka won the title this year. Federer’s window to get No.18 is closing, but it’s still open at Wimbledon.