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Injuries set up Federer for another golden season
Monday, 09/18/2017
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In the least surprising tennis news of recent weeks, Andy Murray’s injured hip seems set to keep the Scot sidelined for the remainder of the 2017 season. Like his old adversary Novak Djokovic, Murray will now be targeting the Australian Open at the start of 2018. While the Scot is the early favourite for the first Grand Slam of the New Year, will those injuries allow Roger Federer to return another productive campaign?

Swiss Swansong

"Roger Federer" (CC BY 2.0) by Doha Stadium Plus

At the age of 35 and with no Grand Slam victories since taking the Wimbledon Title in 2012, few would have expected Federer to finish 2017 with two major titles. Victories in Australia and at Wimbledon once again made it 19 career Slams for the Swiss, thereby rejuvenating his career at a time when he may have had one eye on retirement.

Federer is playing some of the best tennis of his career, although it’s fair to say that the struggles of Murray and Djokovic have played their part. The Swiss veteran is now 3/1 second-favourite behind Murray in bet365’s latest tennis betting markets to successfully defend his Australian Open title but will age and the competition catch up with him this time around?

Both Murray and Djokovic hope to be back and competing in Melbourne but can we expect either man to maintain a serious challenge after lengthy respective lay offs?

In doubt?

"Andy Murray receives medical treatment" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06

Firstly, neither man is guaranteed to return at Melbourne and in the case of Andy Murray, the Scot was looking at surgery to address his troublesome hip at the end of August. Latest news suggests that rest and rehabilitation will be enough with Mark Petchey among those backing the three-time Grand Slam winner to come back stronger.

Those reports also hint at a faint hope that Murray will return to competitive tennis before the end of the year and that would seem important to his Australian Open chances. Coming into a Grand Slam cold, with little or no competitive action, is far from ideal, of course, so if the Scot can sneak in tournaments in Vienna and Paris before the end of the year, his chances of success in Melbourne will doubtless increase.

As for Novak Djokovic, updates on that injured elbow have been absent since the Serb confirmed in July that he would miss the remainder of the 2017 campaign. With no reports coming through we should, therefore, probably trust that he is on track and ready to get back underway at the very start of 2018.

Having turned 36, we might now be looking back on the career of Roger Federer and paying tribute to the most successful player that the men’s game has ever seen. As it is, a resurgence has seen the Swiss add to his impressive haul and end the year with a record tally of 19 Grand Slam titles.

Other players including Rafa Nadal and Stan Wawrinka will also have a say but with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic some way from full fitness, few would be surprised to see Federer extend that Grand Slam total even further in 2018.