For a lot of the final twenty years, males’s tennis has been obsessive about one query: How do you cease Roger Federer?
And after 20 grand slam titles and a file 302 weeks at world primary, it’s clear few have recognized the proper formulation.
Whilst Federer prepares to show 37 the conundrum is turning into more and more problematic, with the Swiss grasp on the point of returning to the summit of the game.
A semi-final finish or higher at this week’s Rotterdam Open will verify Federer as the shape participant of the final 12 months and finish a close to six-year absence from the highest of the ATP standings.
The likes of Philipp Kohlschreiber, Stan Wawrinka, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov are prone to come up in opposition to Federer this week, every going through the identical query a whole lot have did not reply down the years.
Former Wimbledon doubles champion Michael Stich has beforehand claimed he could beat Federer on his favourite surface of grass, the place the nice man has a file eight singles titles at SW19.
And the German right-hander believes solely a relentless attacking method is sweet sufficient to topple Federer, with Sergiy Stakhovsky’s five-set win at Wimbledon in 2013 the blueprint for any participant daring to go toe-to-toe with the veteran.
“We have seen odd matches like Stakhovsky beating Federer one 12 months, the place the man’s performed serve-volley on a regular basis and stored placing stress and stress on a regular basis,” Stich, who retired a 12 months earlier than Federer turned skilled in 1998, advised the Sports Illustrated Beyond the Baseline podcast.
“I’ve not seen any of the highest guys as of late hitting passing photographs over 5 units. I believe they will not.
“I’ve a philosophy. If I lose the primary set as an instance 6-2, and I see that my ways do not work, nicely I attempt one thing completely different. As a result of it does not matter if I lose 6-2 or 7-6 – so long as I lose, it is a dangerous end result.
“So I would as nicely attempt one thing and provides myself the prospect to come back out as a winner. When gamers got here off courtroom shedding in opposition to Roger and saying ‘it was a pleasure to lose in opposition to Roger Federer’, that is the place I really feel like, wow, please.
“That is not the competitors you need to have on the tennis courtroom. Regardless of how good the man is, simply take some dangers. Attempt to get away out of your consolation zone and check out one thing out. Should you lose, nicely, make it higher the subsequent time.”
The following participant who can be hoping to heed that recommendation is Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans, whose reward for coming via the 16-man qualifying occasion in Rotterdam is a clash with Federer in round one.
Ranked outdoors the highest 100 and with out an look on the second week of a serious, it stays to be seen whether or not the 30-year-old can bother Federer sufficiently to finish his hopes of returning to world primary prematurely.
Nonetheless, he will certainly be hoping to channel the success of one other left-hander – Rafael Nadal – when he steps out on the ABN AMRO World Tennis Event this week, with no participant having racked up greater than the 23 wins the Spaniard has collected in opposition to Federer throughout their respective careers.