Wimbledon build-up: Are Federer and Nadal past their peak?
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are no doubt two of the greatest ever tennis players, even having achieved what still eludes current dominant world number one Novak Djokovic by claiming a career Grand Slam.
The Swiss and Spanish superstars currently stand in first (with 17) and second-equal (14) respectively in the all-time men’s singles Grand Slam list of any era, with the latter being six titles ahead of the Serb.
However, as is inevitable, all giants must fall eventually, and it seems that the duo are on that slippery slope ahead of perhaps the most famous tennis tournament of them all, Wimbledon.
Together, the pair have amassed a total of nine SW19 trophies, Federer with a record-equalling seven and Nadal just two, but it is fair to say they are both now past their peak.
Leading up to the tournament, Nadal has had mixed success in his preparation to overtake Pete Sampras in the grand Slam rankings, having won the Mercedes Open in Stuttgart but then crashing out in the first round of Queen’s to Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Injuries have certainly taken their toll on the Mallorca-born Spaniard, who is still just 29. After a gruelling clay court season, in which he lost only his second-ever match at the French Open, it is difficult to see him going far at Wimbledon. Nadal is now down to 10th in the ATP rankings.
Despite Federer edging nearer to his 34th birthday and having reached just one Grand Slam final since winning here in 2012, it is the Swiss world number two that stands the better chance of reaching the latter stages.
He is currently progressing well in his favourite pre-Wimbledon grass event Halle, having reached the quarters so far, and did manage to get to the same stage at the French Open, before being knocked out by compatriot and eventual winner Stan Wawrinka.
As well as Wawrinka, who has had a remarkable sudden rise in the game these last couple of years, standing in Federer and Nadal’s way, Djokovic (5/4 Wimbledon favourite) and Andy Murray (11/4) are at the top of their game.
The 28-year-old duo had a terrific clay court season, despite not winning the grand French Open prize, and will be raring to go in London.
There may be perhaps one more Grand Slam left between Federer and Nadal, but it may be better now to just enjoy the sight of them on court showing us glimpses of their former best, rather than hope for success on the biggest stage.