Roger Federer brings down curtain on his career with a defeat, but still dazzles alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal
The world’s most celebrated tennis player, Roger Federer, was once again defeated Sunday night in the first round of the U.S. Open, his first match-loss on grass in more than five years, and it was a crushing end to a career that had seen him emerge as one of the game’s greats.
Before Sunday, Federer had won at least a Grand Slam title each year from 2010 to 2013, and he was considered one of the greatest all-round players on the tour and certainly its most dominant. His remarkable winning streak of 20 straight Grand Slam titles from 2005-13 had made him and his countryman, Novak Djokovic, arguably the two best athletes in the world.
For Federer, the last five years had been a nightmare, with multiple back surgery, a broken thumb, an aggressive off-court training regimen and countless failed attempts to compete at the top echelons of tennis. With his career in tatters, he’d just about given up on ever competing at the top and was instead playing more casually, with a string of near-misses on clay and hard courts over the past five years.
Yet even as he admitted that he might never reach his peak again, Federer held out some hope that he might play some form of tennis this season and possibly win a fourth title. “No one can say enough about what an amazing time it is to be a tennis player at the moment and to be able to do what I love to do,” Federer said after the match. “I feel like I have so many years left, you never know. I don’t know what will happen. I’m feeling very good physically. We’ll see how the next month goes.”
But after two sets of consecutive losses on the grass, Federer finally succumbed, falling to 19-year-old American Jack Sock 6-4, 7-6 (2) at Flushing Meadows. It was his second defeat on grass in four years. He had last won on grass in