Simon Reed: Roger Federer playing the best tennis of his life, but it may still not be enough
As Roger Federer prepares for the latest obstacle in his quest for an elusive 18th Grand Slam, we caught up with Eurosport commentator Simon Reed to assess the Swiss maestro’s chances of Flushing Meadows glory.
Published 09/09/2015 at 16:01 GMT | Updated 09/09/2015 at 19:15 GMT
CAN RICHARD GASQUET CAUSE AN UPSET?
I think there’s a very strong argument that Federer is playing the best tennis of his life, even compared to when he was winning Grand Slams for fun. Federer has brushed aside the others, and I think he’ll do the same to Gasquet. It'll be a great match to watch, for the purist just lovely, but I don’t think Gasquet will push him. He might win a set, but I doubt it.
So a Federer win in straight sets, at worst four. Federer is playing too well and he’s just got too much for Gasquet, who will have spells in the match when he’s doing really well. Does he truly believe he can beat Federer though? I’m not sure.
WHO WOULD POSE A GREATER SEMI-FINAL THREAT: ANDERSON OR WAWRINKA?
Anderson’s been a revelation. I’ve never seen Anderson like I’m seeing him now. It’s not a one-off. This guy has fundamentally improved, he’s more aggressive, doing things he never did before and proving to himself he’s a good volleyer.
But either would be a real problem for Federer. I still fancy him to take care of it, but both matches would be close - Anderson because he’s playing unbelievably well, Wawrinka because of his great record at the minute. His best chance of winning against Djokovic is an easy semi-final. That might be a problem.
Andy Murray of Britain (L) greets Kevin Anderson of South Africa at the net after Anderson won their fourth round match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York
Image credit: Reuters
IF IT COMES TO IT, CAN FEDERER BEAT DJOKOVIC?
I find it really difficult to pick between Djokovic and Federer. There’s no doubt that Federer is playing the better tennis at the moment and the stars seem aligned for him to win his first Grand Slam title in three years.
I felt that at Wimbledon too and it didn’t happen. I felt like it should have happened, but it didn’t. That may well be the case here. Maybe he’s got a bit of a thing about Djokovic and that may remerge on Sunday, assuming both make the final.
On form, he’s the man. Whether that happens, I really don’t know. He’s probably playing even better in New York than he was at Wimbledon. It’s so tight. My heart says I hope he does, but something’s holding me back. If push came to an almighty shove, I think I’d just go for Djokovic. But only because of what happened at Wimbledon and what tends to happen.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia congratulates Roger Federer of Switzerland in Cincinnati, Ohio
Image credit: AFP
SHOULD OTHER PLAYERS ADOPT A MORE AGGRESSIVE APPROACH LIKE FEDERER?
Federer has been ultra-successful with this new aggression. Could men’s tennis change? Possibly. The problem is you have to be unbelievably talented to do it. The others are probably more content with whacking it from the baseline. Federer’s got the talent to be more aggressive; others don’t. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andy Murray to do it bit more though…
HOW LONG CAN FEDERER GO ON?
Only he knows. He’s only really said he’s not looking beyond Rio 2016, but if you’re playing the best tennis of your life, would you want to give up next August? Maybe not. He’s not said anything about carrying on but it wouldn’t surprise me. He’s probably reappraising now. You have to forget his age. He’s much younger than that because he’s looked after himself so well. He’s really 28, 29...
One thing you couldn’t say is that he’ll never win another Grand Slam if he doesn’t win on Sunday. He’s playing so well - why wouldn’t he be right up there in Australia?