Roger Federer is like the tennis equivalent of a fine wine. He seems to continue to get better with age, which was shown on Wednesday night, in a complete dispatching of Filip Krajinovic. The Serb, currently ranked at #41 in the world, was struggling to win games in the first hour of the match, and was a set and a break down within half an hour. Despite choosing not to take part in the inaugural ATP Cup, the Swiss player already looks in devastating form.
Perhaps the most important factor in determining whether Federer can win another Grand Slam is the amount of time he spends on court. So far, after his first two matches, he has spent less than three hours on court. Although the opponents will only get tougher, this is already a good sign for Federer, especially when you consider two major threats in his side of the draw, Matteo Berretini and Grigor Dimitrov, have already been knocked out.
So, what threat will John Millman provide under the lights of Rod Laver Arena on Friday night? Well normally the Aussie would be able to use the support of the home crowd, however Federer has the majority of support wherever and whoever he plays. Millman is a grinder of a player, with a solid all round game. Since he has beaten Federer over the best-of-five set format before, he has what many other players lacks in the early rounds of Grand Slams, the belief that they can win. The fact that the match is being played at night will also be a benefit to the Swiss player and if he plays as well as he has done in the previous rounds, it could be a very difficult night for the Aussie.
When Federer won his last Australian Open in 2017, it was the start of a golden run that saw him win the sunshine double in the immediate following months. It may be very early days yet, but there is still a lot for him to play for and keep him motivated. The clear and obvious point is that Djokovic and Nadal are catching up to his grand slam record and although he has admitted publicly that he would not mind if this happened, he will want to do everything in his power to ensure that this does not happen. Also with the likes of up- and-coming stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev reaching the latter stages of grand slams there are more big threats outside of Djokovic and Nadal.
Whatever happens over the next two weeks, one thing is for certain. At thirty-eight years old, Roger Federer is continuing to produce an incredible standard of play. He is continuing to sell out stadiums all over the world and he is still by far the most popular player in the game. It is unclear how long this will last, but there is one thing that is clear to everyone. An in-form Roger Federer is great for tennis.
Main Photo from Getty.