Roger Federer had one of his best years on tour in 2017. Returning from his first long injury and first surgery (knee), people were skeptical he could ever return to the summit of Tennis, given the age as well.
The Swiss Maestro ended his 5 years drought of Grand Slams by winning 2: Australian Open and Wimbledon, increasing his tally to an all time record of 19.
In the same year he managed to defeat his old nemesis, Nadal, 4 times, by making his backhand a force to be reckoned. The GOAT proved that he can adapt, learn and improve even at this age. His serve became even better and started coming more to the net.
Roger worried people at the end of the year with his recurring back pain. The first time the issue was visible was in the Canadian Open’s final, where he could barely move. Then US Open was a constant struggle for form.
But by the end of the year it seemed that he regained his fitness. Losing in the World Tour Finals Semifinal was due to David Goffin’s amazing form, maybe combined with fatigue after an eventful year.
Roger Federer started his 2018 campaign in Perth, Australia. Joining the Hopman Cup for a consecutive year, the 36 years old showcased outstanding form.
He firstly played Yuichi Sugita. The Swiss overpowered the spirited Japanese. All aspects of his game worked and the outcome of this match seemed only a matter of time. His serve was powerful and secured his peace. His movement spot on and his backhand sharp as ever. He won the match, 6-3, 6-4.
The second singles match from Hopman Cup was against Next Gen Russian Star, Karen Khachanov. This was a different story. The youngster showed no fear and started the match with confidence and composure, to break Federer’s serve in the first game.
But Roger immediately broke back. Even if he won the first set by 6-3, Federer’s serve showed weakness, having to defend multiple break points.
Karen proved to be more competitive in the second set and managed to push the veteran in a tie-break.
The match was full of breathtaking rallies and attacking play, both from the net or baseline.
The Swiss Maestro’s experience proved to be decisive though, as he marched on with the win, 6-3, 7-6 (8).
This match raised a few question marks, but let’s not forget that Khachanov is incredibly talented and has multiple weapons.