United States, the 23rd of August 2010: Despite talk of Federer being on the decline in his career, he announced himself anew in Cincinnati as the in form candidate to take out the US Open ahead of main rivals, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
The manner of his victory over American Fish in Ohio, 6-7 7-6 6-4, showed his detractors what type of form his was in heading into the final Grand Slam of the season. Nothing separated the pair through much of the match, with Federer’s experience and grit winning the crucial points pulling him through, following his earlier loss to Brit Andy Murray in the Rogers Cup.
Appearing in the final at Flushing Meadows for six consecutive years, with only last years loss to Juan Martin del Porto tarnishing his reign at the US Open, Federer will once again be instilled as the fan favourite, if not bookie and tournament favourite, to take the title.
“He’s just been there so many times. Clearly he loves the US Open and his record is incredible in Grand Slams. I feel like he’s a different player even in Grand Slams as opposed to even Masters 1000 tournaments,” Fish said.
Questioned on his opinions as to the biggest threats in his pursuit of a 17th major crown, Federer reiterated what most would have deduced, “I guess the top four have the best shot again. We can all play really well on the hard courts. Murray has proven himself, so has (Novak) Djokovic on the hard courts and so has Rafa. He’s won the Australian Open.”
Taking a polite shot at his main rivals chances Federer stated, “maybe the US Open is a bit faster, so you figure Rafa (Rafael Nadal) will struggle a bit more. But if the draw goes his way, he’ll be in the final (stages) and have a crack to the title, too. He knows how to win slams. He’s won all the other ones.
In his usual self-assured style Federer agrees that he has the best chance of taking the honours at Flushing Meadows, revealing that he is unfazed by his rivals. “I’ll always have new challenges coming up. I used to play against Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, and Carlos Moya, and Todd Martin and all those guys. Next generation was sort of already my generation almost. It was Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin and Juan Carlos Ferrero.”
“So I’ve played through many generations now. Always been different challenges and rivals. That’s not going to change. I think every five years you’ll have someone new. I think the next generation is probably already sort of knocking on the door.”