Federer escaped Falla in the first round of Wimbledon, but like so many before him he won’t be able to escape time – and it is ever more rapidly showing signs of creeping up on him.
Borg retired when he was 26.
Sampras retired when he was 31.
Laver retired when he was 36.
Federer is still just 28 years old, but would now have to be considered past his prime and staring at the end of a brilliant career. Of course, it’s possible that he will enjoy the longevity of an Agassi or Connors, but even they were only occasionally able to raise their games to the highest levels in the latter part of their careers.
No, let’s face it, Falla was the first chink in the armor (Ted).
Federer has a family, all the money he could ever want, a legitimate claim to being the best tennis player who ever lived … in short, he has everything that would cause a man to lose motivation – plus he’s getting old (for a professional athlete, at least).
It’s been a great run. Possibly the greatest run we’ve ever and will ever see. And soon, too soon, we’ll be watching classic matches featuring Federer and telling the kids, “Now that guy could play some tennis.”