EXCLUSIVE: Greg Rusedski on why Roger Federer’s Grand Slam winning days may be over
Former British No 1 Greg Rusedski does not believe Roger Federer has what it takes to burst out of the blocks to win the US Open if the tournament goes ahead in August.
Questions over whether the event can take place at Flushing Meadows linger amid the coronavirus pandemic, but there have been some positive noises coming from US tennis chiefs who are still hoping to stage the event without crowds in New York.
In an exclusive interview with Tennis365, Rusedski has urged the USTA to do all they can to get the US Open played on schedule, as tennis looks to get back on track after the professional game was shut down in March.
Now Rusedski has turned his attention to what we can expect on the court and he doubts whether Federer can continue to produce miracles by competing for the sport’s biggest titles after he toasts his 39th birthday on August 8th.
Federer fans will be hoping their man follows a script played out in 2017 as he bounced back from knee surgery to win the Australian Open in stunning fashion, yet Rusedski is not expecting the 20-time Grand Slam champion to repeat that story as he needs to overcome two familiar foes.
“The joke going around is that Roger has surgery and the whole tour gets cancelled until he is fit to return,” says 1997 US Open finalist. “Obviously, the coronavirus is a very serious situation and everyone’s health has to be our priority right now, but this break has given Roger time to recover from his latest injury.
“That said, I think it’s going to be pretty difficult for him to challenge for the Grand Slams when we start again. He will be 39 by then and winning major titles at that age will be very tough.
“I have been watching videos of Novak Djokovic practising, Nadal is back on the court and I just don’t see what new dimensions Federer can bring into his game at this stage to win Grand Slam titles at this stage of his career if those two guys are at their best.
“Last year at the US Open, Roger got tired in the heat and lost out in the quarter-finals and while it would be a great story if he could win it, I still think Djokovic and Nadal are the guys the rest will need to beat. Then you have Federer next in that list and you can never discount him.”
There will be an unfamiliar build-up to the US Open if it takes place in August, with the game’s top players heading into the tournament with limited practice after an unexpected mid-season break and Rusedski suggests that could add to the excitement around the event.
“It will be interesting if we have a US Open in August because we don’t know how players will respond in what will be one of the first tournaments back,” he added.
“In many ways, it will be like the Australian Open, when players go into the first big tournament of the year without too many matches behind them and there is always some uncertainty in the early round as a result.
“Usually by the time we get to the US Open, players are getting near the end of the year and they are tired, with three of the four majors already behind them. Now everyone is going to be fresh going in as they have had another off-season.”
Amazon Prime is the home of tennis in the UK and will screen the ATP and WTA Tours live, as well as the US Open.
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