Roger Federer from start to today. In this new column, we will explore the Swiss Maestro's career, focusing our analysis in several stages not only on his victories and his records, but also on anecdotes, events that happened behind the scenes, and curiosities.
In short, the genesis of a champion. After a great 2012 for Federer, came the darkest year so far. 2013 was a season stingily satisfactory for the Swiss, forced by injuries (especially on the back) and bad performances. Above all the unforgettable defeat in the second round of Wimbledon against Sergiy Stakhovsky.
During that season Federer won only one title (the sixth of his career in Halle) in three finals played. Many had doubts about his future that year. Age, injuries, and lacklustre performances. Fans, media and insiders thought that Federer was close to the retirement.
That year Djokovic won in Melbourne, Nadal in Paris and New York and Murray in London. "My career has been too good and this is why, compared to 2013, in 2016, I preferred to move away from the Tour in order to come back stronger than before," Roger said in an interview, a year ago.
The Swiss' answer to who criticize him? On October 12th he split with his coach Paul Annacone and in early 2014 he started his partnership with Stefan Edberg. After the bad 2013 Federer rose, playing a fantastic two-year period.
Edberg improved Federer's attacking game, reducing his movements and consequently increasing his longevity on the court thanks to energy savings. In 2014 and 2015, Federer won 11 titles, including the Cincinnati 2014 and 2015 ATP Masters 1000 and the Shanghai Rolex Masters 2015.
He also won his first Davis Cup with the Switzerland team, but he also lost three exciting Slam finals: Wimbledon 2014 and 2015 and the US Open 2015, all against Novak Djokovic, with the Serb perhaps at the top of his psycho-physical level.
But that two-year period was extremely positive for Federer, who, at 34 years old, was still one of the best four players on the ATP Tour. Talking about Federer's longevity and improvements, Edberg said in the following interview: “I was contacted in 2013 and I worked with Roger for the next two years.
In 2013 he had some problems with his game, he was not very well because of his back and he was looking for some new solution. When I joined his team as a mentor, he changed his racquet and he made some changes. We discussed making changes to his game, such as being a little more aggressive by slightly advancing his position on the court.
This approach worked well in the following years. Roger had the chance to win two-three slams in those seasons, but Djokovic was playing really well." After the three-year period between 2013-2015, there were other incredible seasons, once again marked by a decline and a rebirth.