It isn't completely accurate to call Roger Federer a grass court specialist. Federer has shown enough versatility to win all four grand slams at least once during his career. Still, there is no denying that Federer has ruled the grass courts at Wimbledon more than any other playing surface. His dominance echoes what Pete Sampras accomplished in this same venue during his prime.
Federer cemented his legacy as one of the greatest tennis players to ever pick up a racket when he unseated Sampras as the leader in career grand slam victories with his 2009 Wimbledon title. Now he is gunning for one more Sampras record -- his mark of seven career men's singles titles at Wimbledon.
Judging by his start to Wimbledon in 2012, Federer seems capable of reaching that goal. The six-time Wimbledon champion is showcasing a dominant side in his early matches.
A 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Fabio Fognini on Wednesday drove that point home. Federer never faced a break point and broke Fognini's serve five times. The Swiss champ had 13 aces to just one for his Italian opponent. He also came up with 35 winners over the course of the match. Federer wrapped up the match in a crisp 1 hour and 13 minutes.
His opening round victory over Spain's Albert Ramos proved to be equally impressive. Federer dispatched Ramos 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in just 1 hour and 19 minutes. He won 25 of 34 points at the net and was aggressive in setting the tone for the match from start to finish.
There are lingering questions on whether or not Federer can truly turn back the clock as he advances deeper into the tournament. Since winning his Wimbledon title in 2009, he has failed to survive past the quarterfinal round each of the past two years. Federer's last grand slam victory came at the 2010 Australian Open. He is considered a long shot to win behind either No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic or No. 2 Rafael Nadal. Both players have combined to win the last nine grand slam men's singles titles.
It is likely Federer will come up short to either Djokovic or Nadal when all is said and done. Still, it is never a wise idea to rule out Federer. His game is built for a grass court more than any other surface. Federer has always been strong in matches where he can serve and volley -- a trait that is necessary for long-term success at Wimbledon. He has also enjoyed some grand slam success already this year by reaching the semifinals at both the Australian Open and the French Open.
With Federer turning 31 years old in August, the window of opportunity is closing to win once more at Wimbledon. He seems to realize that time is no longer on his side. Federer's early matches show evidence of a player who is determined to make one last run at the place that has defined his career.
John Coon has covered tennis at all levels as a sports reporter based in Salt Lake City. Coon was raised in a tennis loving family. All three of his sisters played competitively and Coon himself enjoys playing at a recreational level.
- Sports & Recreation
- Roger Federer
- Pete Sampras