Patrick Mouratoglou

Is Federer still competitive?

Patrick Mouratoglou

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Roger Federer's semi-final win over Novak
Djokovic at the French Open and his subsequent performance in the final against Rafa Nadal did much to give his fans hope for

Many people
were even picking him to win the event. But he lost against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
in the quarters and it's now time to wonder whether he has given way to the
young guard.

Personally, and
I said it at the start of Wimbledon, I always thought that the big favourite
for Wimbledon was Djokovic. With the way he has dominated since the start of the season (beating Nadal four times), with
his style of play and his current levels of confidence, the Serb is above the
rest of the field. Even more because his loss at the French Open wasn't only
due to the Swiss player's pride but also to Novak's; trying to beat Federer at
his own game.

So was
Federer's loss at Wimbledon disappointing?
Yes. Because of the promise he showed in the weeks before.

But I'm not
worried. The result is accepted and the quality of Federer's current game is way above
what it has been for the past year and a half.

His tennis was on the wane and you can bet he was hiding some serious physical issue. Less
efficient on his serve, not moving like before, he looked like he was in decline.

But now he seems to have re-discovered his form and the defeat against Tsonga doesn't change
the fact that he's back - provided he learns from it, especially from the way he
suddenly lost his game plan.

Tsonga, I would think the defeat was caused by a lack of confidence and
his inability to focus - which is due to his lack of big results for the past 18
months. He's back to being an average player. The more he fails to turn situations
around to his favour, the more he doubts himself. It does matter.

Is it flippancy? He's so easy
and loose that you can't see the effort. When he's struggling, he tries to play even looser, giving off an "I don't care" attitude
that annoys some people.

I really don't
think that is the truth, though. He has never been the type of player who is able to stay focused
from the first to the last point, like Nadal can. But before he was still able
to work his way back into the match. It's getting more difficult now.

Even if he
doesn't want to acknowledge it, the criticism and doubt being thrown at him in
recent months are obviously getting to him and damaging his already hurt
confidence. But, if he remains healthy, he will clearly be a contender for the
next Grand Slam based on how he has played recently.

Will it be
enough to help him win his 17th Grand Slam? I'm not sure we can go that far.

was the most suited to him because at the US Open, the road to the trophy will
be even harder with a Nadal he can't match for technical and tactical reasons
and a Djokovic on the rise.

Yet, if he can
beat Nadal and/or Djokovic this summer, Roger will receive a massive boost in

The US Open
surface is better for him than the clay of Roland Garros, where he reached the
final. And if things work for him, he can cause an upset. But in my opinion the
Swiss player is still one spot behind the top two at the moment.

In 2011, he
has already lost three times to Nadal and three times to Djokovic,
with only one win - this now famous semi-final in Paris against Djokovic.

The only other
thing that could matter is Nadal's state of mind, considering the Spaniard is undoubtedly
crushed by his five straight losses against Djokovic. We all know he needs a
boost in confidence in order to play his best tennis, and I'm extremely curious too
see how he will have digested the first half of the season when he returns.

If he's
struggling, Federer can seize the chance.

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