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Why Federer Can Win Gold At London

Can Federer win Gold in London? Credit: Flickr, hopping_donkey

They call him “the Maestro” and he is, inarguably, one of the greatest tennis players of all-time. You need only take a quick glance at what he’s done, his records, to be convinced of what he’s capable of.

It is perplexing to many tennis fans across the globe how Roger Federer has never claimed a medal in singles tennis at the Olympic Games.  But this year, I believe that Federer will rise to the occasion in London, and we will see him on top of the podium, kissing a gold medal in front of cheering fans at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

For starters, there can be no better preparation for a full tilt at Olympic gold than taking out the grand slam that directly precedes the Olympic Games – Wimbledon. It’s a good warm-up, a chance to test out your capabilities before the biggest sporting event of the year. The 2008 Beijing Olympics saw Spaniard Rafael Nadal take out gold, mere weeks after winning Wimbledon as well. Four years on, Federer could very well do the same thing.

Experience on big stages is also important. Sure, Federer has won seventeen Grand Slams, but he also knows what it takes to win gold. It may not have been in singles, but in 2008 he took home gold in the men’s doubles event alongside Swiss partner Stanislas Wawrinka, defeating doubles legends and number one seeds Bob and Mike Bryan in the semi-final in straight sets, on their way to a four-set victory over Swedes Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson. He knows how big the Olympics are, and he can perform under such circumstances.

Results at the 2012 Wimbledon Championship speaks adequately to a player’s current form. While Federer took out the championship, dropping five sets in seven matches, his competitors had a less impressive showing.

Novak Djokovic, who came into Wimbledon as world number one, was dispensed with by Federer himself in the semi-finals. Djokovic won a set, but the statistics from the match tell a far more important story. The man they call the “Djoker” was outclassed by Federer, plain and simple. Federer produced twelve aces compared to Djokovic’s nine. He also was winning 72% of points from his second serve – Djokovic winning a paltry 57% of second serve points. Federer also toppled Djokovic in the winners department, 31-28, but the most important statistic was the unforced errors count. While Federer handed Djokovic just ten points off unforced errors, Djokovic had 21 – more than double what his opponent gave up.

Rafael Nadal was disappointing in every sense of the word, crashing out in the second round to world number 103, Lukas Rosol. Andy Murray was convincing in his path to the Wimbledon final, but once more failed to perform on centre stage, and continued his unpleasant run of never having won a Grand Slam.

The surface of the courts also plays a huge role. Some players will prefer some surfaces over others. While Federer is highly skilled on all court surfaces, it is obvious that grass is one of his favourites, having won seven Wimbledon Championships (equal with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw as the winner of the most men’s singles championships). London will host its tennis championship at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (home of Wimbledon) on its grass courts – a huge advantage for Federer, as opposed to the silica-based DecoTurf surfaces used at the Athens and Beijing Games. Federer hasn’t won a major championship on DecoTurf since 2008.

The man they call “the Maestro” is primed for glory at the London Games. He’s had a dream run in, claiming the last Grand Slam before the Games; he’s on a surface that he is most comfortable with; he’s had experience at the Olympics, claiming gold in doubles at Beijing; and he’s proven that he can take down big competitors in big matches. Roger Federer is ready.

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