Roger Federer set to play ‘special’ final match of career on Friday with Rafael Nadal (AFP)
It is possible that Roger Federer, who announced his retirement from tennis last year when he was just 33, will be playing a final match – in the same tournament as Roger, the best player in the world, and the one he will be most concerned about beating.
If you think Roger’s match with Rafael Nadal at the Swiss Indoors in Basel on Friday is a final, you are wrong. That match will, however, be played as a’special’ match, as Federer will not be competing in a third round match at the tournament after being injured against his Swiss compatriot in an Indian Wells final last year.
If there is an argument for Federer to play a special match, it is that he is in a group at the ATP World Tour Finals as a fifth seed, behind Roger, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Nadal. That is to say he is in a group that has just one chance of winning a trophy.
And on Friday he will be up against one of the world’s greatest players.
In my view, Federer will only play one round in the Basel final as Federer has now officially retired.
To my mind, there is no question that he has been the most consistent player in the game for a decade or more. So far, it is his consistency, not his wins, that have made him the greatest.
Of course, in the history of the game, there are players who have played a few hundred matches and won none. They haven’t been as good as Federer. But then Federer is the best of them, isn’t he?
His consistency of effort and commitment over a career that has seen him rise from unheralded player to two-time grand slam champion to World No 1 is remarkable. That is the case for so many of the great sporting greats.
It is possible that Federer, who announced his retirement only 12 months ago, will go on to win more major titles and have a third Grand Slam in 2010, which should be his final season.
Perhaps he might even win another Wimbledon title.
But that is not really possible, especially after being written off by the wider public,