Roger Federer Unsure If Back Will Let Him Play French, Record Grand Slam Streak In Serious Jeopardy
by Tom Gainey | May 12th, 2016, 9:05 am

Roger Federer played today in Rome but he’s still a long way from 100% with his ailing back. A day after beating teen Alexander Zverev, the Swiss couldn’t get the job done against the German’s doubles partner this week, Dominic Thiem, losing 76(2), 64.

Following the match, the 34-year-old Federer admitted that Rome wasn’t a results-based event. It was for information. Information on the back injury he sustained two weekends ago in Madrid.

“I’m confident and hopeful at the same time,” Federer said. “I have only played five matches in the last four months now, so clearly I don’t want to get too overly excited about what’s ahead, but at the same time I’m a positive thinker and I believe that I’m going to recover.

“Hopefully, the next 10 days are going to be easier and I can practice really well sort of starting next week. That’s the hope I have, and then we’ll see the rest, how it’s going to come.

“I actually thought I could really do a good result in Paris. Now the past couple of weeks it’s been more difficult. I see my chances as not great to have the most unbelievable run, but if maybe in three, four days I can practice 100 per cent for next week, then I believe that something is possible again.

“Clearly, the way I’m playing right now is never going to be enough for any good run in Paris, and then I also wouldn’t play this way. I’m still confident I will be fine somehow.”

If Federer’s back won’t let him play Paris, one of his great streaks will come to an end. Federer has played in a record 65 straight Grand Slam tournaments since missing the 1999 US Open main draw after losing to countryman Ivo Heuberger in the second round of qualifying. That’s every Grand Slam event this century!

Consecutive Grand Slams Played In Open Era (Through Australian Open)
65 Roger Federer (2000 Aus Open-2016 Aus Open) **
56 Wayne Ferreira 56 (1991 Aus Open-2004 US Open)
56 Feliciano Lopez (2002 Roland Garros-2016 Aus Open) **
54 Stefan Edberg (1983 Wimbledon-1996 US Open)
51 Fernando Verdasco (2003 US Open-2016 Aus Open) **
50 Tomas Berdych (2003 Wimbledon-2016 Aus Open) **
50 David Ferrer (2003 Aus Open-2015 Roland Garros)
** denoted active

With the Olympics also on the calendar and of course Wimbledon, would Federer be wise just to fully heal and return in a month for the grass season?

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22 Comments for Roger Federer Unsure If Back Will Let Him Play French, Record Grand Slam Streak In Serious Jeopardy

Humble Rafa Says:

That was a good performance by baby Humble. Following the master.

Goat now owned by goat owner and baby goat.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Terrible news. All streaks come to an end. The real tragedy would not be in missing a slam, or even two since Wimbledon follows so closely; it would be if this is the final phase of his career, struggling and clawing just to get back on court.

BBB Says:

TV – I am not at all a Federer fan, but I agree with you.

RZ Says:

I hadn’t thought about the streak. I’d like to see it continue but obviously if it’s not good for his back, it makes sense to sit out the F.O., streak or no streak.

jatin Says:

There is another streak which will end this year. Fed has made finals of atleast 1 big Clay event (GS or masters) since 2002.

2002: Hamburg F (def Safin)
2003: Rome F (L to Mantilla)
2004: Hamburg F (def Coria)
2005: Hamburg F (def Gasquet)
2006: MC, Rome, RG F (all lost to Nadal)
2007: MC, Hamburg, RG F (L to Nadal, def Nadal, L to Nadal)
2008: MC, Hamburg, RG F (all lost to Nadal)
2009: Madrid, RG F (def Nadal, def Soderling)
2010: Madrid F (L to Nadal)
2011: RG F (L to Nadal)
2012: Madrid F ( def Berdych)
2013: Rome F (L to Nadal)
2014: MC F (L to Wawrinka)
2015: Rome F (L to Djokovic)

Incredible when you think about it because it could’ve already ended in say 2011 if he didn’t make the RG final. Or 2013 in his other injury riddled year So just the fact that he got 4 (maybe 5) more years out of it is unbelievable. It started in 2002 before he was really dominant. Maybe that’s the most impressive part of it all.

The final word, i think he should skip FO if his back is not 100 % as this is Olympic year and he needs to be at his 100 % to have any chance of winning wimbledon.
Every good thing comes to an end. I hope he just takes as much rest as he could. Take care fed.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Wow, jatin. That’s amazing, I never thought of that.

RZ Says:

Thanks Jatin. Good info.

gee Says:

what a streak with fat, injured, virus strickened Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Gaudio & Coria in the draws.

Daniel Says:

Damm, that streak is 14 years long.

Nadal can match it but his started in 2005 and is ongong at 12 in 2016. If he can keep up for 2 more years he tie, till 2019 and he surpass it.

Right now, Fed has to see his season startung in Stutgart. But playing RG, with a day in between won’t hurt that much I think, still 16-17 days until he olays his first match there.

chrisford1 Says:

Daniel, unfortunately Rafa missed many Slams, most recently in 2012,13, and 14. His current streak is 6. Andy also liely has no chance getting close to the leaders because he missed the French Open in 2013.
Novak is following a very similar track to Federer. Another Iron Man. Every Slam since he qualified as an 18 year old in 2005, at the AO. 45 Consecutive Slams. Exactly 5 years behind Fed in his streak.

Some caveats –

1. For half the Open era, the Iron Men of the sport didn’t bother sometimes with certain Slams. Typically the AO, ike with Borg….but also the French (Connors) and Lendl skipped the AO, French, and Wimbledon certain years.
2. Wayne Ferreira maybe shouldn’t count. He was a doubles player, mainly. Though he had some decent singles results, a few QFs, and 2 semifinals at the Australian pen at beginning and end of his career, If you list him…well, Mike and Bob Bryran made 68 straight Slams so far.
3. Ferru, Edberg, Verdasco, Tomas Berdych, Feliciano Lopez?? Great accomplishment for each. And Spaniards are tough!!
4. This has been discussed before, showing up is one thing, consistently getting great results at each and every Slam is another. Fed has records for straight Semis and Qfs at Slams. Part-rooted in the Weak Era, but regardless, 23 straight semis and 36 straight QFs is truly remarkable. Djokovic had 14 semis, lost to Stan in 2014’s AO QF, then started a 2nd streak now at 8, and he may pass the 3d best record, Lendl’s 10, yet again. And is tied with Connors with 27 straight QFs so far.

Markus Says:

Federer just put into words what I always thought. These masters are only testing/practice grounds for the tournaments that really matter, the slams.

skeezer Says:

“what a streak with fat, injured, virus strickened Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Gaudio & Coria in the draws”
what a streak with old(Fed), injured &, mental injured Murray, and Rafa in the draws. And beneath those guys? Don’t get me started….

good dig. Notice that 13 YEARS later he still made the Final, on Clay, against the current WORLD #1…

kjb Says:


haha . You’re an idiot.


“part rooted in weak era”

Almost every post you make on here you spout off about weak era bullshit. Fed is currently ranked #2 in the world. He is closer to 50 years old than 20 years old. We are in the weak era buddy.

Daniel Says:


I was talking about the record jatin posted, regarding Clay Masters/Slam finals per year since 2002. Nadal is curently in 12 since 2005.

chrisford1 Says:

Daniel – OH! Sorry! Thought you were going on the consecutive Slam thing Tom Gainey was writing about.
kjb – If the discussion underway (GOAT, streaks) happened entirely in the Weak Era or partially in it, sure I will mention it. Level of competition affects outcome, gains. Same truth to business, sports, war.

Markus, Federer just put into words his own opinion, which doesn’t really go past Federer believes to be so. *Except that he doesn’t*
“These masters are only testing/practice grounds for the tournaments that really matter, the slams.”
Maturally, Federer spins it the other way when he wins, saying how important Dubai, Indian Wells, the YECs are, in their own 1000 points, with some offering a million or more to win or tying US Canada Masters wins to a promo for an obscenely huge prize money kicker at the USO.
Something of sour grapes in that. Enter a tournament, lose or bail, and then declare the tournament is meaningless and only prep for a Holy Slam.
It’s now been 10 years since Fed lost to Rafa in a Rome 2006, back when Fed had self belief that like all players in the 000s, he was better than Rafa, even on clay. Because, dammit!! He was Roger Himself. Fed had nasty sour grapes on that one, like with Djokovic’s 2011 escape. He snarked on Uncle Toni in the stands, barked at the umpire. Rafa got a curt handshake with Fed looking the other way, similar to the butthurt handshake Aga Radwanska gave Sabine Lisicki a few years ack at Wimbledon. Then he dissed Rafa at his press conference. An agitated Fed declaring Rafa and Toni cheated ’cause Rafa lacked the ability to coach himself on court. And said Rafa was only playing a very simplistic one dimensional game, so his win was no big deal.
Before sponsor Nike stepped in to smooth things over with their two stars, have them both use buzzwords like deep friendship and total respect, Rafa reacted after hearing of Rogers presser the next day:
Nadal said of Federer, “He has to learn to be a gentleman even when he loses.”

skeezer Says:

Never read so much jabberwacky silliness. You must write to entertain yourself, cause, well, the adjectives speak for themselves. Just so you know, your thoughts don’t mean its true.
Folks, for sure we are in the weak era of posting here.

Travis Bickle Says:

My sources tell me that the last 3 slam finals Federer played (Wimbledon 2014 & 2015 and USO 2015) were used purely for information gathering purpose. As Roger likes to say they were “information-tournaments, not a result ones”.

However, the same sources also tell me that Istanbul and Halle were approached as “result-tournaments” last year. Go figure…

Margot Says:

Goodness me, if he’s rationalising his losses in this way, he’s going to find it really hard to jack it all in.

mat4 Says:

A few words about the Rome 2006 final. Tignor wrote a beautiful article about it, but, like so often, it’s more about creating myths, distorting the truth for the sake of storytelling than anything else. It’s an inspiring article, but it’s easy, with youtube, to check the facts and to clean the patina time has deposit on events past.

Fortunately, I have rewatched that match last year — when I first read that Rafa has slowed down markedly — and compared it with other clay matches.

First, we should notice how naive was Roger’s strategy for that match. He was very aggressive, it’s true, but he often failed to make Rafa hit his backhand on the run, and pulled the trigger so many times too early. But it’s something made clear many years later, by Ferrer imho, that Rafa had to be attacked on his FH.

Roger won points brilliantly, but lost points routinely. It was obvious that Roger’s backhand was his Achilles heel, and not only Rafa pinned it on that side, such a weakness made it difficult for him to play the adequate tactic.

Roger dominated so outrageously the field back then that he didn’t see the need for changes, and he really started working on his game only a few years later, when he made the excellent move of hiring Paul Annacone; he delayed the adoption of a better racquet a few more years, and it costed him dearly. Unfortunately, his physical and his technical peak didn’t overlap, and we will never see what the best possible Roger would have looked like.

Rafa was already… Rafa, then. I often read that Roger benefited from a weak era, but let’s be honest: there were a few great champions on hard, but on clay — it was really the void. Rafa was a player that grew up with luxilon strings, so he had an obvious advantage compared to the previous generation of players, and nobody arrived with him. I wrote many times about technological shifts and how they impacted the careers of established players. Roger was so good that he made it _despite_ never fully embracing new technologies, Rafa made it by dint of new technologies.

But when new champions fully matured, Rafa, with his one dimensional game, was overtaken. Today, Djokovic, Murray are at least his equals, causing a lot of problems in the delicate and tender psyche of the Spanish player.

I compared Rafa in 2006 with Rafa in 2015, in his match against Novak at the FO, where he played with abandon, without stress, for two sets, and I am quite sure that he played clearly better in 2015. But this match is a myth killer: the myth about the warrior that never says die — quite the contrary, Rafa broke apart when he understood, in 2014, that he had everything to lose. The myth of the invincible clay Hydra, with nine heads and nine lives. Finally, the myth of the symbiosis of a man and a court, the Chatrier.

Let’s not forget two things: Toni really did coach Rafa during the Rome final, and Roger was right to be furious about it. And then, the handshake was OK, at the end. I have no doubts that, in his usual manner, Roger said at the press conference something ungraceful and tame, but in difficult moments he has to solace the person he loves the most — himself. At least, he’s honest in his blandness.

Humble Rafa Says:

Folks, for sure we are in the weak era of posting here.

That’s deep and philosophical, Skeeze. Take care of those cats, would you?

Michael Says:

Roger shouldn’t worry about the break of streak and must skip Rolland Garros to keep him in good shape for the Grass court season. That is where his real chance of success lies provided Novak is eliminated early.

lakie Says:

Agree with skeezer.

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