Roger Federer enters the North American hard court season with the same attitude he had in the past tournaments this year. The Swiss Maestro has been playing with a 'chip on his shoulder,' playing the role as a spoiler to favourites Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Tennis pundit David Cook of Give Me Sports pointed out in his latest column about Federer's current role at this stage of his career. With years of dominance behind him, the Swiss is playing with more aggression and nothing-to-lose mindset as of late, and that apparently makes him the most dangerous man in men's tennis.
"There is not the same sign of pressure when the Swiss steps out onto court, which is a result of the fact that he has not won a Grand Slam in over two years, and he can now afford to let the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray worry about a "favourites tag" going into the biggest tournaments," according to the analyst.
There's no doubt the 32-year old Federer will try his best to win another slam in the next two to three years. However, the spotlight isn't on him anymore. Thus, he plays with less pressure and more angst to prove that he can still compete at the highest level.
For Cook, Federer's failure to win a sixth US Open crown this year won't translate to a letdown, because his mission is to give the road tougher for younger rivals to add another Grand Slam to their trophy cases.
"You could go as far as to say that he is under less pressure than any of the other players in the top ten, who are either still expected to win at the top level or who have not yet had the experience of reaching the top level," Cook said.
A pressure-less Federer will always be dangerous. He proves this in his 2014 Wimbledon Open campaign when he demolished the competition until bowing out gallantly to Djokovic in a five-set final showdown. Many thought Federer was the favourite against Djokovic in that match, but the Serb had significant edge on the conditioning area. And it was indeed Federer's Achilles heel when the match went into distance.
Yes, it's a foolish to count out Federer in this upcoming US Open. Nadal and Djokovic are indeed the top contenders, though the Swiss could still pull off something from his bag of trick. For the rest of men's tennis, danger time is coming in Flushing Meadows.
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