Grand Slam tennis: Nadal needs to be wary as Federer not dead yet

Sunday, January 16, 2011

MELBOURNE - The numbers show that the 29-year-old Roger Federer is quite capable of pulling the plug on Rafael Nadal’s party in Melbourne during the Australian Open.

Former tennis great John Newcombe argues that the late 20s does not necessarily have to herald decline.

“I think I was playing at my absolute peak at 29 [in 1973],” said Newcombe, who liked the recent adjustments that Federer had made to his game, such as standing inside the baseline in a more aggressive posture rather than playing from behind the baseline.

Newcombe contends that Federer cannot best Nadal without deploying an attacking style.

Newcombe’s argument that age should be no impediment to Federer is supported by the rankings.

Indeed, age appears to have become a significant factor in an opposite direction - the tour has become no country for young men, who are struggling to keep up with the seasoned stars.

As Federer recently pointed out, there is not one teenager inside the top 100 in what is truly the men’s game.

Newcombe adds that, during last year’s Wimbledon, “There wasn’t a player under 21 inside the top 100, which is a complete turnaround from five, six, seven, eight years ago.”

The grand slam script is a repeat, except that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have traded places, the Spaniard now the game’s benchmark, Federer the clear second banana and prospective spoiler.

However, should Nadal prevail over the next fortnight, he will become the first player since Rod Laver to win four consecutive grand slam titles. (ANI)

will not be displayed