So, about that prediction of mine for Roger Federer as Wimbledon champ ...
Unexpectedly, or maybe not, the way he struggled from the onset of the tournament, Federer lost to Tomas Berdych today in the quarterfinals. We all know the details: the end of his finals streak there, two quarterfinal losses back-to-back in Majors, blah, blah, blah.
Despite all that, I'm far from ready to throw in the towel on him. And here's why, in two words and a number (I don't think I said this before, but if I did, please excuse me):
2010 Australian Open.
Yep, that little phrase makes me optimistic about Federer's results for at least the next couple of years. Based on his insane results in Majors, the Aussie is the second toughest among the four for Federer to win. To do that after coming off some tough losses at the end of last year, and taking out some players that were starting to find some chinks in his armor--such as Nikolay Davydenko and Andy Murray--shows that his will to win is extraordinary and that he still has plenty left. Your game doesn't disappear in the span of six months.
Look at how he came out, though, at this tournament: Struggling against players with no grass-court pedigree makes it look like something was wrong with him physically to me. Not to take away from Berdych's win by any means, because he definitely came up with the goods, but I would think Fed would have enough grass-court savvy to handle anyone--even one of the game's biggest hitters.
And just to be clear, I'm not a "Fed-Head," I'm just calling them as I see them. And despite the recent run of bad form, what I saw from Federer at this year's Aussie indicates he'll still be OK for a couple of years yet to come.