The "Swiss Maestro" is heading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics looking to add the final piece to his collection.
20 grand slam titles, six tour finals triumphs, a Davis Cup in 2014 and a host of other trophies, records in his two decades as a tennis professional. However, there is one accolade that the Basel born player is missing, and that is an Olympic gold medal in singles.
Well, that could change at next year's games in Tokyo, as the 38-year old has announced his intention to compete at what will be his fifth appearance at the multi-sports extravaganza.
The "Fed Express" made his debut for his nation at the Olympics in impressive form at the Sydney games in 2000. At the age of just 18-years old and having only been on the circuit for less than a couple of years, he made it all the way to semi-finals, before losing to Germany's Tommy Haas. In the bronze medal game, he succumbed to Arnaud Di Pasquele of France in a closely fought encounter 6-7,7-6,3-6.
Heading into Athens 2004, many had earmarked Federer for gold in the Greek capital, and why not? He had already won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon and was the undisputed number one in the world. He was shocked however by the Czech Tomas Berdych in only the second round.
Four years later in Beijing, again Fed entered as the favourite and again left empty-handed, almost. In the singles, he was defeated by American James Blake, however, in the doubles things went much better. Teaming up with Stan Wawrinka, the pair romped to the ultimate prize in the tournament, winning the gold medal. It was not just that they won, but the manner in which victory was achieved, as the Swiss team only lost one set in their run to gold, and that was in the final in a tie-break as they overcame the Swedes Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson.
Federer won his first precious metal in singles at the London 2012 games. He made it all the way to the final, but home favourite Andy Murray got the best of the then 31-year old in a comprehensive win for the Scot, who won in straight sets 6-2,6-1,6-4. Despite the defeat, Federer was happy with his effort, saying after the match, "I am satisfied. I am very, very proud honestly to have won silver."
Unfortunately, at the next game in Rio, "Rog" was not able to compete for his country after suffering from a knee injury.
Tokyo 2020 declaration.
Interestingly, the record holder for weeks at number one choose to let the watching world know of his intention to play in the Far East games in the Japanese capital itself. Following an exhibition match with John Isner, "Fed" said, "I've been debating with my team for a few weeks now, months actually, what I should do in the summer of 2020 after Wimbledon and before the US Open. At the end of the day, my heart decided I would love to play the Olympic Games again."
Prospects and ending the chase for the top
As it seems to usually be the case, the tennis tournament at the Olympics will take place on the hard courts. This should be an advantage to Federer, however, there are a few elements to take into consideration. How fast will the court be at the venue of The Ariake Tennis Park? It should be noteworthy that the competition takes place right after the Championships at Wimbledon, although given how slow the courts are now at the All England & Croquet Club, that may not affect him too much.
Federer will turn 39 at the tournament and he has managed his body to work with a schedule that has allowed him to maximise his ability and still be at the very top. May he decide to lessen his workload in the first half of the next year, to be at the optimum capacity?
Then there are his potential rivals for gold; The usual suspects should be there, such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and given his recent return to form, Andy Murray. There are also the up and comers like Dominic Thiem, Danil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev etc.
Roger Federer continues to chase that one prize that has eluded him his whole career, and it would be quite prophetic, that if he does win gold in Tokyo, it would have all started with his announcement in the city itself.