Are we really to believe that Roger Federer, who turns 31 this summer, will be in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games? “It’s not impossible that I will be in Rio,” Federer told the Swiss press the other day, raising the intriguing thought that he will still be on the scene when he is as close to 40 as he is to 30, and when, for tennis, he would be quite an old man (as Boris Becker once said, tennis years are not the same as ‘normal’ years; they take much more out of you).
It has long been supposed that Federer’s last appearance in the Olympics would come at this summer’s Games at Wimbledon, which will be his fourth Olympics. What could be a sweeter finish than holding up a gold medal on Wimbledon’s Centre Court? But, perhaps, after Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, we are going to through another four-year Olympic cycle with Federer, and that he will still be out there on Brazilian cement. It seems extremely unlikely.
Yes, not impossible, but four years is a very long time in tennis. It will all depend, you have to think, on how competitive he continues to be; if he is not putting himself into the position to win the sport’s biggest prizes, he will not be there, because there would be little point. He is not going to go to South America as a tourist with a racket bag. Plus, if he wins this year’s Olympics singles, he would have achieved everything you can in tennis in singles. Surely, then, he would feel a great sense of completion?