Roger Federer may have stumbled at the U.S. Open, but the Swiss legend is still the best tennis player in the world, and he will continue his stranglehold on the top of the ATP World Tour rankings for the foreseeable future.
Andy Murray is playing at an extremely high level; his defeat of Federer in the Olympics, in addition to his most recent win over Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open final, make him a threat to supplant both stars as the best in the world.
But not right now. Federer still has a say in the matter.
Let's not forget the level of tennis he was playing at in July, when he toppled Murray for his seventh Wimbledon title. In addition, he has already won six singles tournaments this year (two against Murray and one against Djokovic).
Federer may be 31 years old, but with his resurgent play this year, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where he bows out of contention and doesn't challenge his superstar cohorts for the next few years.
The U.S. Open loss to Thomas Berdych came across as more of an aberration than anything. Berdych is a player Federer has not seen a lot of, and while he should have still handled him, one loss like this during a strong year does not portend doom.
The 2012 ATP World Tour has seen each of the top four players win a major tournament (Djokovic at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal at the French Open, Federer at Wimbledon and Murray at the U.S. Open) and dominate the tennis landscape.
It seemed inevitable that we would have a year like this, when the big dogs each claimed a title. That's what the game of tennis looks like right now: wide open. Federer and Nadal were dominant for so long, and now Djokovic and Murray have made their presence known.
Parity is good, but that doesn't mean Federer is done. He's played too well for too long to be done now, and I see him extending his impressive 2012 with a few more wins.