Roger Federer’s Big Apple Challenge Shyam Sundar August 6, 2015 Players, Pro 1124 days and counting!! Roger Federer is still in search of No.18 and the wait continues! He did come close to improving on that number when he made his 10th Wimbledon Final last month losing to Serbinator World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the final. There were still some positives for the 17-time Grand Slam champion as he produced one of his finest displays in recent years against native son Andy Murray in the SF. The agonizing and fruitful experience at SW 19 does serve as a testament that you cannot write off perhaps the history’s greatest. Roger Federer’s summer campaign on the North American hard courts has been slightly deferred. Federer recently announced that he is withdrawing from the Rogers Cup in Montreal. By hopping his trip to Canada, Roger has definitely sent a sound message to his rivals – he is absolutely determined on winning a 6th title at Flushing Meadows. Not Playing Roger’s Cup – Is it the right decision? Partly Yes, Partly No. Why Yes – Federer will turn 34 on 8th Aug and is fighting off an all-out attack from the only disputed force of the universe – TIME. He is not injured but not playing the event could unquestionably be part of a tactical move to save himself for New York. The old body does need some extra rest. Why No – The major downside is that Federer will have only one warm-up event in Cincinnati, Ohio to get accustomed to the US Hard-courts and prepare for a shot for another title in the “Big Apple”. The major concern which the Swiss Maestro could be facing is the loss of his No.2 ranking as he is expected to lose 600 points which he earned by reaching last year’s final (l. to JW Tsonga). Andy Murray clearly has his sights on the No.2 ranking and is licking his chops to take the 2nd The biggest benefit is that you get to avoid World No.1 Monster Nole until the championship day. Roger’s all geared up to win his next major and the seed/ranking next to his initials should not be a big concern for him. The bigger goal at this point of time is the number 18 and the major drought which he plans to end this summer. Roger is a master of the game and understands his boundaries and limitations thus taking necessary actions to modify his game and shorten his schedule. The clock ticks closer to his 34th birthday and time is running out to add more glory to his illustrious career. He only has a limited window left before he is not able to play the same level of tennis and if he wants to rest his body and only give the best of efforts in order to win another grand slam than, he certainly has his priorities right. Roger’s fitness levels are unmatched but even he cannot stop himself from growing old and aging which comes with more wear and tear and slower recovery time for the body. So reducing his commitment to non-essential tournaments is ultimately a savvy move, much to the disappointment of his platoon of fans. Roger is a 2-time champion at the Rogers Cup but has not won there since 2006. He has also missed the event in 2012 & 2013 and the fact that he hasn’t won the tournament since 2006 probably played in the back of his mind. Thus he played in 2014. Not playing in 2015 will definitely be a smart move as Federer will stay home to further recuperate from his long Wimbledon run and focus on training. His body surely thanks for him for the extra time off. Staying physically renewed for the U.S. Open is significant, but so is not peaking too early. And perhaps Federer did that last year when he won Cincinnati. He arrived in the Big Apple having already played so many tense matches, which likely played a role in his eventual semifinal loss to Marin Cilic. With Novak Djokovic beaten in the semifinals, Federer let a wonderful prospect to end his drought slip away. He doesn’t wants to make the same mistake this year. Now, he can hit his stride in New York rather than before. This is what Federer had to say after his loss to Djokovic in the Wimbledon Finals “I am still very hungry and motivated and a match like this is very helpful. I’m right there. My game is good. I played on my terms. Things are all right.” Expect the champion to be ready for one final challenge.