Roger Federer: Crafting an Ideal Blueprint to Capture the Australian Open Title

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 08:  Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a forehand during practice ahead of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 8, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Tennis fans worldwide are rejoicing. Yes, in part that the first major of the season will take place, as the Australian Open will begin play on January 13. But, also they’re hoping for a little Déjà vu with Roger Federer and witness seeing him add some hardware to his record-setting 17 Grand Slam title wins.

He’s 31-years old, but Fed is a young 31 and very dangerous to win any major on this year’s docket. This represents the changes and adjustments that Federer had made over the years to keep him on top of the tennis world.

Thankfully, Federer has remained competitive on the court—but it hasn’t been easy.

Red flags were raised on Fed’s possible demise when he squandered a two-set lead at Wimbledon in 2011, as the whispers became louder that he lost a step, didn’t have the desire anymore to maintain a top player’s hectic schedule and his younger rivals had simply passed him by.

He made a smart decision to skip certain non-Grand Slam tournament events prior to the Australian Open. Federer wanted to avoid a repeat of what occurred last summer, as his body simply ran out of gas in the later stage of the tour season. Fed chased the world’s top ranking, while going deep in two major Grand Slam events and participating in the London Summer Games.

He was mentally exhausted and just needed some time away from the tour to get his head straight.

Finding a way to win the 2013 Australian Open will be difficult, as Andy Murray has transformed himself into a top player, and then there’s always Novak Djokovic to deal with.

To be successful, Federer must be more aggressive on his service returns and pick his spots to attack the net. This will allow him to take advantage of his superior volleying skills.

Federer hardly concedes anything on the court to an opponent, as he’s quick enough to defend the back-line and hasn’t lost the love of competing in “a good fight “during a Grand Slam final.

Yes, Federer has major roadblocks ahead if he’s going to win his 18th Grand Slam title, but never over-estimate his ability to close out a major if given the opportunity. He has made concessions to age, but don’t try to catch him off-guard with a simple drop shot over the net. He will return it with some authority. And never take for granted his serve, as Federer will muster enough velocity on the ball come match point.

It’s natural to long for nostalgia, especially in sports. All tennis fans want to see Federer fall to the ground after securing his fifth Australian Open title. This would make it right in the world once again.

At least that's the notion for all of the Fed’s fanatics.