Roger Federer is arguably the best tennis player of his generation, and some argue that he is the best of all time. Name a major event, and he has won it. Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open titles are all on his resume, with multiples of each except for the French. Despite all of the success he has had on tennis courts around the world, there is one honor that has eluded Federer throughout his career, and he plans on sticking around long enough to claim that championship. The one title that Federer has yet to claim is an Olympic gold medal in a singles event. Will 2020 be the year he finally claims the gold?
Roger Federer’s illustrious career
Roger Federer turned pro in 1998 and has won more than 1,200 matches since then, with 102 career titles on his ledger, which is second-most in the Open Era behind Jimmy Connors’ 109. Among those 102 championships are 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most of all-time; he has also appeared in a record 31 men’s Grand Slam singles finals.
Looking at his overall career, not just the majors, Federer won a record 24 consecutive finals on the ATP Tour, as well as garnering 24 straight matches won against top-10 opponents. He also holds records for spending the most weeks as the world No. 1 (310) and the most consecutive weeks as No. 1 (237). Those are just some of the numerous records he holds.
Federer’s lackluster Olympic career
Federer first appeared in the Olympics in 2000, when he was unseeded as a young 19-year-old. He made it to the semifinals but failed to medal. He competed at the Olympics in 2004 and 2008, but he didn’t make it past the second round and quarterfinals, respectively, in the singles draw. Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka won the doubles gold in 2008, however.
Federer finally earned a singles medal in 2012, picking up the silver after losing to Andy Murray in the final. Federer missed the Summer Olympics in 2016 while he recovered from a knee injury he suffered earlier in the year.
Roger Federer is determined to get the gold
Federer isn’t giving up on the opportunity to earn gold in the singles event at the 2020 Games, even though the Olympics will be held just days before his 39th birthday. Knowing that he will be in his 40s by the time the 2024 Olympics come around, Federer realizes next year may be his last chance to get the medal that has eluded him throughout his career so far.
Barring injuries, he won’t have trouble qualifying for the Olympics, as the top 56 men in the ATP rankings qualify if they are among the top four in their nation — qualifications Federer meets. He will, however, need an exemption for the Davis Cup requirement since he has not fulfilled the minimum number of Davis Cup appearances during the Olympic cycle, but his past commitment to the event will earn him the exemption he needs.
When he plays at the Olympics, Federer should have a good chance of winning because the event will take place on a hard court. Seventy of his 102 career championships have come on hard courts, so he knows how to win on that surface. In confirming his decision to participate in another Olympics, Federer said that he spent months considering whether to take part in the Games, and ultimately, his “heart decided [he] would love to play the Olympic Games again.” The Olympics have a particularly sentimental attachment for him since he met his now-wife Mirka when they both competed for Switzerland at the 2000 Olympics.