The whispers have been there since 207 when he lost consecutive matches to Guillermo Canas. Is Federer getting old? Has he passed his prime? Has he lost his drive to win? Federer has won hundreds of matches and six Slams since then, but the whispers still remain. Less than one short month ago, Federer fell out of the top 3 for the first time since 2003. His consistency has been very slowly slipping all year and he has not won a Slam since the Australian Open in 2010. So the question needs to be asked: are these whispers legitimate?
On some level, Federer will always draw attention and criticism like this. He is a very polarizing athlete. There are many, many fans who absolutely love him. He is one of the most famous and popular athletes that the World has seen in any sport in recent years. On the other hand, there is a fairly vocal substantial minority of tennis fans who, for a variety of reasons, donít like Federer. Some have issues with his on-court demeanor, others feel he is too smug and cocky, and still others just think that he is far too successful and resent it. So itís understandable why Federer supporters would be concerned that he is beginning his decline and detractors would be hoping for it.
So is Federer declining? He certainly is no longer as consistent as he was in the earlier stages of his career. His absolute mastery of the tennis racket still shines through at times, but errors and poor footwork have crept more and more into his game as the years have progressed. I donít think that anyone but the most blindly homeristic fan can deny that. We still see glimpses of the Maestro that Federer once was, but itís not there almost every match like it was back in 2006.
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. As always, thoughts and opinions are welcome and requested.