Melbourne – Roger Federer wasn’t very happy when relayed John McEnroe’s comments that his loss to 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round at the Australian Open was a “changing of the guard” moment. It is easy to utter such a phrase given that Federer is 37 and hasn’t made a grand slam semifinal since last year’s Australian Open. But McEnroe — who is prone to headline grabbing quotes — does have a point or at least as it relates to the perspective on Federer.
As much of a talent as Tsitsipas is, tennis history tells us that can’t-miss prospects can wane into solid pros who never quite hit the heights expected of them. Tsitsipas, though, does seem to have it all. Power, precision, variety, desire — and a modest swagger. But back to the legendary Swiss.
Federer’s last three losses at grand slams have boggled, because of just how good he has been for nearly two decades in clutch moments.Indeed when he said he “created a monster” here in 2008 after a semifinal defeat to Novak Djokovic — the point being that all his wins led people to believe he was untouchable — Federer was correct.