Anyone remember the last time Roger Federer played a tournament before the current Rogers Cup event in Montreal? If you guessed Wimbledon, then you’re right. Anyone remember who Federer’s last loss was against in the tournament? If you guessed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, then give yourself a pat on the back because you’re right again. Last night, which came as a bit of a surprise to all, Federer dropped his second straight match against Tsonga, this time in the third round of Rogers Cup action.
This marks the third consecutive day where the men’s field has lost a top seed in the draw, beginning with Andy Murray's loss to South American Kevin Anderson on Tuesday, then Rafael Nadal bowing out to Croatian Ivan Dodig on Wednesday, and now Federer is sent home last night. Tsonga was able to carry his momentum and confidence from his Wimbledon win over Federer and deployed the same tactics he used then ... hit the ball big, and boy did he hit the ball big! Tsonga gave Federer very little time to recover and set up for his shots as the Frenchman took the match, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1. That third set is very telling to me, but maybe people don’t see it. A 6-1 third and decisive set means there was no fight, little effort to match your opponent shot for shot, and to say that about the best player of all time Federer, is just plain out of the ordinary.
For Federer, the clock of life is ticking, more noticeably now than back then. The Swiss maestro just turned 30 on Aug. 8, which in tennis years, is up there. Granted, Federer is still in phenomenal shape unlike Andre Agassi when he turned 30, as when Agassi hit the three-decade mark, you could see the end was very near physically. Federer, should he choose to, could play another five years easily with no physical issues. However, its hard to have to admit it, but you can see it in Federer’s face and more so his game, that he looks “satisfied.” Satisfied meaning, being number one in the world for so long, winning 16 Grand Slam titles, including attaining the career Grand Slam accolade, building a brand empire where people have come accustomed to knowing the “F” logo when they see it and knowing who it belongs to. On the personal side, the birth of his two daughters has also possibly changed his perspective on tennis and life.
By no means am I dismissing Roger Federer from the game of tennis. I do think Federer has one, maybe two, Grand Slams left in him in his career, should the cards fall the right way for him. Come next week’s Masters Series in Cincinnati, we’ll see if there will be a rebound from Roger. However, I won’t be so quick to judge, as I’ll save that assessment for the U.S. Open, the last chance for Federer to win a Grand Slam in 2011. One of the main reasons for Federer not winning any Slams all year, aside from Rafael Nadal, is due to the 2011 rise of world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
The top ranked Serb has claimed two of three Grand Slams to date in 2011, and looks to be hungry for more glory. Djokovic continued his strong showing in Montreal with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Croatia’s Marin Cilic. With the departures of Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and now Roger Federer, it would be crazy to pick anyone but Djokovic to win the 2011 Rogers Cup. Up next for the world number one will be the charismatic Frenchman Gael Monfils. Expect some good points between the two players, but expect Djokovic to run away with the match in straight sets. As a quick follow-up, remember the guy who beat Rafael Nadal two nights ago or did you forget his name already? After winning the biggest match of his life, the Croatian Dodig fell flat on his face when he lost in straight sets to Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, 6-1, 6-4. Beat Nadal and then lose to Tipsarevic? I’ll be scratching my head for a while with that one.
2011 Rogers Cup Match Results
► Novak Djokovic (SER) def. Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-5, 6-2
►Jo-Wilfired Tsonga (FRA) def.  Roger Federer (SUI) 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1
► Gael Monfils (FRA] def.  Viktor Troicki (SER) 3-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(5)
[►6] Mardy Fish (USA) def. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
► Tomas Berdych (CZE) def. Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-3, 7-6(2)
► Nicolas Almagro (ESP) def.  Richard Gasquet (FRA) 7-6(5), 6-3
► Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) def. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
►Janko Tipsarevic (SER) def. Ivan Dodig (CRO) 6-1, 6-4