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Thursday, 10 January 2013

Roger Federer and Australian Open 2013


Roger Federer achieved a few milestones last year. He regained the top spot when no one expected him to, he won another grand slam defying all the odds and in doing so he equalled Pete Samprass record of winning 7 Wimbledon titles and crossed his idol’s mark of total timespent at the top spot.

For the first time in his career Roger Federer has opted not to play any tournament or exhibition before the Australian Open, and it will be tough to judge where he stands right now as compared to his major rivals. The major Australian Open contenders, Andy Murray played at Abu Dhabi and Brisbane International, while Novak Djokovic played at Abu Dhabi and Hopman cup.

Let us have a look at Roger Federer’s chances of winning the Australian Open crown for the 5th time in his career.

Roger Federer and Australian Open  2013 – Based on the past performance of 2nd seeded players at Australian Open

A 2nd seeded player has made it to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 19 of the past 25 years.
The 2nd seeded players have gone:
.  16-3 in the quarter-finals;
. 10-6 in the semi-finals; and
. 6-4 in the championship match.

This shows that Roger Federer indeed has a good chance of making it to the end of the Australian Open.

It is interesting to note that a 2nd seeded player has not only once before the quarter-finals in the last 10 years, and only twice in the quarter-finals.

Image via guardian.co.uk
However, a worrisome fact for Roger Federer and his fans might be the fact that it has been 8 years since a 2nd seeded player won the Australian Open. In-fact the last man to win Australian Open as a 2nd seeded player was Roger Federer himself, back in 2004. It was the Australian Open victory that propelled Roger Federer to the top spot and hence started the era of Roger Federer.

Will Federer be able to break the spell of bad luck casted on the 2nd seeded players since 2004 at the courts of Melbourne or will he go down?

Roger Federer and Australian Open 2013 – Based on the past performance of Roger Federer at the Australian Open

Roger Federer is an impressive 63-9 life-time at the Australian Open, winning the title on four occasions (2004,2006,2007 and 2010) . Roger Federer holds the record of most Australian Open titles in the open era with Andre Agassi.

Roger Federer’s last title at the Australian Open came in 2010, and since then he has failed to make it to the championship match. Roger Federer  fell at the hands of Novak Djokovic in 2011 in the semi-finals in straight sets, 6-7(3), 5-7, 4-6 and in 2012 he came up short against Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-7(5), 4-6.

Roger Federer has never lost before the 3rd round of Australian Open since his d├ębut at Australian Open in 2000.

An interesting thing to note is that since his first title at Australian Open in 2004, Roger Federer has never lost before the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Since 2004, his losses have come at the hands of Marat Safin in the semi-finals in 2005, Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in 2008, Rafael Nadal in the championship match in 2009, Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in 2011 and Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals in 2012. Absence of Rafael Nadal from the Australian Open means that the only problem Roger Federer will have at the Australian Open will be from Novak Djokovic. Novak Djokovic, being the top seed will meet Roger Federer in the final, if both players make it to the last step.

However, the story is far from over. Andy Murray has won a grand slam, and he leads Roger Federer in the head to head 10-9, however Murray is 0-3 against Federer in grand slams. Tomas Berdych is also one of the few players to have beaten Roger Federer at the grand slam, and he was the last player to beat Federer at a grand slam, in the quarter-finals of U.S Open, Juan Martin Delpotro and Jo Wilfried Tsonga are also from the handful of players to have beaten Roger Federer at grand slam. For Roger Federer to make a move, he will definitely love to see these players falling in the other half of the draw.

Roger Federer is 31 years old and the heat in Australia has been soaring, he will try his best to keep the points short and conserve his energy. Roger Federer definitely has everything in him to win another major and he proved everyone wrong when he won his first major in more than 2 years at Wimbledon last year.

One of the things about Roger Federer is that when tennis experts write him off, he marches back to remind them that he is not done yet. He has done it before and he definitely can do it now.

Will Roger Federer bag his 5th Australian Open title is a question I would love to see answered in affirmative, but with the factors discussed above let us keep our fingers crossed for the Swiss Mastero and see if he can defy the odds and win his 18th major.

P.S : Stay tuned for the previews of Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic.

For a preview of other players please refer below:

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