Tournament exits to lower-ranked players showed he was struggling. The US Open saw the 32-year-old defeated in straight sets by 31-year-old Tommy Robredo in the fourth round. Apart from a poor showing at the Shanghai Masters, his late season form displayed glimmers of what we’re much more accustomed to seeing. His final three events saw him reach two semi-finals and a final.
In those final few events, the 17-time Grand Slam champion looked closer, but not too near, to his old self. I think he can take encouragement and build on for 2014.
Many have sighted his pre-2014 season exhibitions as potential catalysts for the dip in form. Also, don’t forget about the back troubles he had.
There are plenty of facts and figures that read badly for Federer fans from the year. To touch briefly on those, he didn’t reach a Slam final for the first time since 2002, it was his least successful year on the Tour since 2001 and, alarmingly, he failed to beat a single top 4 player throughout the year.
Just how close he can get to nemesis Rafael Nadal before he calls time on his career remains to be seen but what has been clear is his desire to continue. I genuinely think he’ll be back to surprise his critics. It will not be easy though.
Whilst we have witnessed a slump from the Swiss number 1, compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka has enjoyed a marvellous year.
The world number 8 is at a career high ranking. His single-handed backhander is the best in the business, a joy to watch along with his monumental serve.
Could Wawrinka break the top 4 or 5 in 2014? He’s certainly a contender.
– Nathan Morley