Roger Federer could play on until 2020 Tokyo Olympics

By @saihoops on
Roger Federer, 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Tennis - Australian Open - Men's singles final - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 29, 2018. Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates with the trophy outside the Rod Laver Arena after he won the final against Croatia's Marin Cilic. Reuters / Issei Kato

The ageless Roger Federer continues to re-write history books. After clinching his record Grand Slam title No. 20 at the recently concluded Australian Open, the 36-year-old Federer is on the verge of becoming the oldest World No. 1 in the Open Era.

Federer, with 9,605 points, trails World No. 1 Rafael Nadal by only 155 points in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday. On Apr. 28, 2003, Andre Agassi, at 33 years and 13 days, became the oldest World No. 1 in the Open Era. Federer, who turns 37 in August, has a realistic chance to surpass the American's record. A year ago, Federer eclipsed Agassi as the oldest player to win an ATP Masters 1000 title with his win at Indian Wells.

Despite the long list of accomplishments, there is one prize that eludes the Swiss Master: an Olympic singles gold medal. At the 2012 London Olympics, Federer settled for silver after losing to Andy Murray in the men's singles final. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Federer won a gold medal in doubles tennis when he teamed with fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka.

According to The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell, Federer could prioritise playing in the Davis Cup just to qualify for Tokyo 2020. "The one prize that eludes him is an Olympic singles gold medal – and that might be incentive enough for him to qualify for Tokyo by returning to playing Davis Cup for his country – although he is in no shape to join his compatriots in Kazakhstan this weekend," Mitchell wrote in a column published Monday.

Roger Federer plans to play until wife is happy

The 36-year-old Federer is planning to stay on the ATP tour for a few more years. “Honestly, I don’t know (when I'm going to call it quits). I have no idea. I’ve won three slams now in 12 months. I can’t believe it myself. I’ve just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen. Then I don’t think age is an issue, per se. It’s just a number. But I need to be very careful in my planning, decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that’s what’s going to dictate how successful I will be. Exciting times ahead," he said after capturing the 2018 Australian Open title.

Federer added that his wife, Mirka, will take a call on his playing career. “My wife makes it all possible. Without her support, I wouldn’t have been playing tennis for many years. We had a very open conversation, if she was happy to do this or not, years ago. I’m happy that she’s super supportive, and she’s willing to take on a massive workload with the kiddies. Same for me, because I wouldn’t want to be away from my kids for more than two weeks. This life wouldn’t work if she said no."

The Gurdian report fielded the possibility of Federer joining the other three members of the sport's Big 4 -- Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray -- in a grand farewell at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In recent years, Federer has employed a pick-and-choose policy with a desire to stay healthy for the Wimbledon and US Open. Federer is once again expected to miss the entirety of the European clay court season which gets underway in May.

Roger Federer is also primed to become the oldest Grand Slam winner in the Open Era. While Australia's Ken Rosewall remains the oldest player to win a major, Federer could surpass the Aussie at some stage in 2019. Rosewall, at the age of 37 years and 2 months, captured the 1972 Australian Open, to set the previous record. Federer would have to win the 2019 Australian Open, a looming possibility given that the Swiss is playing the best tennis of his life over the past 12 months.