Roger Federer is one of the greatest tennis players of all time – perhaps the greatest. Although he is in his 37th year, he is still a major contender, and he will be chasing his 100th professional career title in Dubai.
The Swiss tennis superstar is currently rated 7th in the ATP world rankings. There can be no doubt that he is in the twilight of his career, but he is only inches away from claiming his 100th title, and if he does, he will have added yet another milestone to his impeccable record.
He already holds the record for the most grand-slam titles with a total of 20. Another “best ever,” is the eight Wimbledon titles he has notched up.
He also has the record for the most grand-slam finals appearances with 30 in all – ten of which were consecutive with another run of eight, back to back, underlying his dominance of the men’s games in the past.
But age has already taken its toll, and it won’t be long before the “Federer Express” grids to a halt.The opposition is getting younger and better, not to mention the fact that in his current escapade – the Dubai Duty Free Championship, he has to face some tough opponents including the likes of Marin Cilic (World number ten seed), Stefanos Tsitsipas (World number 11), and Daniil Medvedev (World number 15).
Federer is seeded number two in the Dubai tournament, and if he does progress to the latter stages, he will meet the number one seed Kei Nishikori. The Japanese player is Asian number one in the world and is also 6th in the ATP World Rankings.
It, therefore, won’t be an easy task, but Federer has the mental advantage in the fact that he has beaten Nishikori in all the previous seven matches they have played against each other.
Another reason that Dubai will be a keenly fought competition is the prize money. It amounts in total to US$2,736,845. It all boils down to the fact that anyone considering placing a bet on the outcome of the Dubai Duty-Free tennis tournament will have to evaluate a broad spectrum of form to select the winner.
In the last year, Nishikori has won eleven matches and only lost two. He won the Brisbane International and reached the quarters in the Australian Open and semis in Rotterdam. Then there is Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the semi-finals in the Australian Open, and along the way managed to take the scalp of Mr. Federer.
Whichever way you look at it, Roger Federer is going to have his work cut out for him if he is to get his 100th title under his belt. For the aging veteran he will need to find his best form, but of course, no-one can deny that the Swiss has more experience and skill than anyone else in the tournament. Can he use that to overcome the disadvantage of age? We will just have to wait and see.
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