ATP Tour

Odds stacked against Federer adding to 20 Grand Slam tally

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Roger Federer (PA)
Roger Federer (PA)
  • Sy Lerman reckons it's unlikely that Roger Federer will add to his tally of 20 Grand Slam titles.
  • The Swiss great, at age 39, will find the going tough against a strong young brigade coming to the fore in men's tennis.
  • Rafael Nadal recently equalled Federer's record of 20 majors by winning the French Open.

A look into the tennis horoscope suggests that nine players are vying for the eight places in the ATP Finals next month and also likely to be the candidates vying for Grand Slam honours in 2021 - with the iconic Roger Federer definitely out of next month's tournament in London as he continues his recuperation from knee surgery, but also unlikely to be among the elite who will challenge strongly for a major title next year.

Many of those who view the legendary 20-times Swiss Grand Slam winner - an achievement equalled by "Clay Court King" Rafael Nadal in the recent French Open - with a combination of awe and affection will, no doubt, dispute such an assumption.

But several factors suggest that Federer will indeed not pass the 20-mark of Grand Slam titles, which Nadal and current world No 1 Novak Djokovic, with 17 titles, are eyeing.

Now at the ripe old age of 39 to compete for major tennis singles honours, it is close to three years since the Swiss maestro annexed a Grand Slam title.

But even a more pertinent clue as to whether Federer can demonstrate his old mastery when he launches his proclaimed comeback in January - supposing, of course, the tennis calendar remains uninterrupted by the current dreaded coronavirus pandemic - is the uphill road three-times Grand Slam winner and 2016 world No 1, Andy Murray, and also South Africa's Kevin Anderson, a two-times Grand Slam finalist and one-time world No 5, who are both much younger than Federer, are battling to regain their former mettle.

Not close to be serious contenders for a major title this year, Murray and Anderson are presently still to break into the top 100 in the ATP rankings.

And this kindles up a resume of the domineering cream of the men's tennis crop as it now exists, with Djokovic, world No 2 Nadal,  Dominic Thiem (3), Stefanos Tsitsipas (5), Daniil Medvedev (6), Alexander Zverev (7) and Andrey Rublev (8) certainties for London and the exciting Denis Shapovalov challenging Diego Schwartzman for the eighth and final qualifying place in the ATP Finals.

Federer, a non-starter in this respect, still holds a world No 4 world rating, but only by courtesy of the ATP's protected ruling on players affected by injury over a lengthy period, with many of the Swiss's ranking points deleted once he returns to active participation.

And there is, as the tennis horoscope reveals, the massive obstacle of players of exceptional ability standing in the way of an evergreen Federer when he makes his intriguing, but testing comeback.

Also, the horoscope suggests in regard to major tennis history is that by the end of the year, Djokovic will hold onto his clear-cut world No 1 ranking and thereby equal Pete Sampras' record of finishing the year as No 1 in the world for a sixth time.

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