The revival of Roger Federer – and why he could triumph at the U.S. Open


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Roger Federer is ready to fill the Rafael Nadal-shaped hole at this year’s US Open, and the evergreen Swiss star will be confident of securing his 18th Grand Slam.

There has long been a discussion regarding who is the superior tennis player: Federer or Nadal.

Elegance, finesse and poise or power, tenacity and tirelessness.

The two men are polar opposites, but, in their own right, should be considered as two of the greatest players to have ever graced the sport. Federer, the gentleman of tennis, sits atop the pile with an astounding 17 Grand Slam titles, whilst Nadal, the raging bull, has 14 to his name.

In that sense, the Swiss maestro has the edge over his Spanish rival, but in head-to-head meetings Nadal is some way in front.

It seems the argument may never be settled, but the news that Nadal will be unable to compete at this year’s US Open has added another dimension to the quarrel.

Federer will participate in his 60th consecutive Grand Slam when he walks out on Arthur Ashe Stadium next week. The 33-year-old has not missed one of the four prestigious tournaments since 1999, a year in which he lost in the same tournament as a youthful serve-volleying 18-year-old.

In comparison, Nadal, who is five years Federer’s junior, misses his seventh Major and is unable to defend a Slam title for the second time in his astonishing career.

This year’s tournament at Flushing Meadows will undoubtedly be poorer without the Spaniard, but it paves the way for Federer to make a real venture towards an unparalleled 18th Slam.

After a bitterly disappointing 2013, by the Swiss star’s lofty standards, he is once again firing on all cylinders. The back injury that plagued him during last season is now a distant memory, whilst the combination of the new and expanded 97-square-inch racket and Stefan Edberg on the sidelines has made it easier for Federer to move forward into the net, where he achieves so much success.

The world number three, who has spent a total of 302 weeks at the very peak of the rankings throughout his career, has 49 wins under his belt this season – more than any of his opponents on the tour.

Winning in Cincinnati last week and reaching the final of both his previous tournaments – the Rogers Cup and Wimbledon – Federer is undoubtedly the form player heading into the US Open.

Nadal’s presence will be sorely missed in New York, but the stage is now set for Federer to claim his first major since Wimbledon in 2012.

Joshua Hayward - @JoshuaHayward99

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