Hey all, just a formal rambling on what Federer's 2013 season might bring and what we can expect from him given the schedule he has set out for himself.
As far as tennis seasons go for players at age 30 or over, Roger Federer's 2012 campaign must be placed among the best. He won his seventh Wimbledon, he reached World #1 and stayed there for 17 weeks, and he won six titles while finishing runner-up at another three. After a 2011 season that left more to be desired, he came through big for his fans in 2012 and used every ounce of energy he had to achieve all his goals.
2013 could be a little different. He released his schedule a while ago and there are some notable tournaments missing - specifically Miami and Basel, his home tournament. It is speculated that he will reach a deal with the tournament's organizers by next October, and I'm betting he will. But he certainly won' play Miami.
Overall, his schedule looks like this: open the season at the Australian Open without any warmup tournaments, as has been customary for the two-time defending champion Down Under, Novak Djokovic. Then the Maestro will be off to defend 1000 points in Rotterdam and Dubai, before defending another 1000 in Indian Wells. After that, he takes a month-plus long break and returns to action in Madrid, which unfortunate for him, is back to red clay next year. He is skipping Monte Carlo just as he did in 2012. After Madrid he plays Rome and then it's off to Roland Garros.
Just as in '12, he'll warm up on the green stuff in Halle, before chasing his record-breaking 8th Wimbledon title. Then his summer will be a little less strenuous for him, as there are no Olympics to play in this coming year. So after the break, he plays in Montreal and Cincinnati before suiting up in dark colours yet again for the US Open. Then after that break, he will play Shanghai, Paris, and the World Tour Finals (well, assuming he gets there which he most certainly should).
So overall he is scheduled to play in 7 Masters tournaments and 14 tournaments overall (if he doesn't make changes, and 15 including the WTF), which are down from the numbers he usually posts. However, Roger is a master at keeping his body fresh for the big tournaments, and he knows what he's doing. Having the extended breaks after Indian Wells, Wimbledon, and the US Open will keep him sharp mentally and physically for all divisions of the year.
The big announcement Federer made was that he was not going to be playing Davis Cup next year, which is an unpopular decision in his home nation. Regardless, this is the best thing for him to do. The Swiss have a World Group tie against the Czech Republic in February, who of course won the whole tournament defeating Spain a few weeks ago.
It is wise for Roger not to play Davis Cup for health reasons, to not tire him out. But even with his help, the Swiss would have a hard time beating the solid Czech squad led by Tomas Berdych. Even if Roger was to, say, win his opening match against Radek Stepanek, and Berdych beats Wawrinka, the doubles tie would likely go to Berdych and Stepanek as Roger and Stan aren't the greatest doubles team and the #2 Swiss is a bit of an inconsistent weak link in that pair.
Overall, it's just not worth it to play Davis Cup because Roger would have to reduce his schedule even further. At this point in his career, it is all about playing well at the Slams and with this kind of schedule, he will aim to go far in every event he enters.
In 2013, winning either of the four Slams will be very, very special. The Australian Open becausehe hasn't won it in what will be three years and a win would make him the first 5-time champion there. A second win at the French Open would further cement his legacy. An 8th Wimbledon win would put him alone at the top at SW19, and after four straight years of so-close-but-not-close-enough kind of losses, winning a 6th US Open would be extremely special.
We know that every top player goes into every tournament with the expectations of winning, but there are many tournaments on Roger's calendar that he can enter knowing he's the either the favourite or at very least co-favourite. Those would be Rotterdam, Dubai, Halle, Wimbledon, Cincinnati, the US Open, Paris, and the World Tour Finals (and Basel if he plays). It is unreasonable for him to win all those tournaments, but a good goal for me if I were him would be one Slam, two Masters, and perhaps one or two other titles.
2013 should be an exciting year for Roger. He accomplished so much in 2012 that he appears very relaxed during the exhibitions he's playing in South America (more of that coming up), and if he's relaxed and pressure-free heading into the new year, it could spell danger for opponents and further success for the Master.
Have an early happy holidays, everyone.
This is my tennis blog, Lefty Advantage. Tennis is my biggest passion in life and I started this site to discuss the great game. I mainly follow the career of Roger Federer, but I truly love watching all tennis, whether it be the final of a Grand Slam or a junior tournament on the other side of the world.
I have played tennis for 13 years. If you ever met me, I could talk your head off about all things tennis for hours on end if you would let me. Welcome, and enjoy the writing!