Roger Federer’s much-awaited comeback was halted a couple of weeks ago, as the Swiss lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Qatar Open. Federer subsequently withdrew from the Dubai event, citing the need to go back to the drawing board given that he was not ready to compete at a high level yet.
The break could prove to be beneficial for Federer, not only because his body would get much-required rest but also because he would get a better perspective on his goals for the season.
Federer has also been surpassed by Novak Djokovic in the number of weeks as World No. 1, which was one of his most cherished records. However, Federer is someone who is known for taking punches and still standing strong, so he still has many chances to salvage his status in 2021, especially if he ends up breaking the record for most Slams won, among others.
Here’s a look at four historic feats Federer can achieve this year that would help him stand his ground in the GOAT debate:
Roger Federer can break the record for most Grand Slam match wins in the Open Era
If Serena Williams doesn’t overtake Roger Federer by the time Wimbledon and US Open roll around, the tables might turn in Federer’s favor as he would be looking to make a deep run at both events.
Having said that, Serena Williams is more than capable of producing good results at the final two Majors of the season herself. The American will also be motivated by the prospect of surpassing Margaret Court’s record tally of 24 Grand Slams, so Federer would need to pull his socks up if he intends to be the sole owner of this record.
Roger Federer can break the record for most tour match wins by a male player
Roger Federer has won 103 tour titles from 2003-2020, establishing the gold standard when it comes to winning matches. The Swiss champion is possibly the most versatile player of all time, which is something that has helped him get 1,243 match wins on the pro tour under his belt.
Roger Federer is currently second on the list of male players who have the most official wins, with the record being held by USA’s Jimmy Connors at 1,274. Federer is actually on Connors’ tail in another list too – that for most ATP titles (the American holds the Open era record at 109 titles).
Roger Federer can become the oldest player, male or female, to play a Grand Slam final
The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have transcended what it means to be truly versatile, winning big titles well into their 30s. But so far none of them has played long enough to break the record for the oldest player to have played a Major final.
Roger Federer could have a crack at this record in 2021, as he will turn 40 in early August. That means if Federer can push his way to the championship match at Wimbledon, he would become the oldest player in the Open era to play a Slam final – at 39 years and 337 days.
Roger Federer can become the sole owner of the Slam titles record again
Roger Federer was considered the greatest male tennis player for a long time, having held the record for most Grand Slams before his rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic came of age. Djokovic and Nadal then shared 19 Major titles between them from 2011-2016, while Federer took home only two (2010 Australian Open and 2012 Wimbledon) in the same period.
Federer has not been able to sustain the same level since, and he has struggled to produce top-notch performances outside of the All-England Club. But the Swiss is known as someone who can take his punches and come back swinging, so he could well make the final chapter of the GOAT race interesting.