When was the last time we saw Prime Federer?

REKX

Rookie
As a Federer and Nadal fan, it has been amazing watching these two over the years. Federer's game around 2007 was just pure art, his movement and strokes are a bit more industrious now as oppose to artistic (but it had to be done to let him play on). Nadal now hitting more aggressively and direct now as he hasn't got the speed to play his old game.

I know some people here believe we saw prime Federer as recently as 2015, but that is nonsense. His footwork by then (and now) has deteriorated so much that he lost perhaps half a step, but that is the difference when you have players like Nadal, Djokovic and Murray to compete with. His forehand or serve may not have lost their pop, but you need to get to the shot first. Otherwise Sampras will still be playing.

We saw the best prime Federer in 2007, that was the best version of him in his greatest years with 3 slams and good competition (as oppose to beating retiring players Agassi before that). We saw prime Federer in 2008, amazing season and would have been a 3 slam year if it wern't for Nadal. On grass, at Wimbledon 2008, he was playing amazing, he didn't lose a set at Halle or at Wimbledon until the final and the commentator were all saying how he is playing flawless tennis on grass. Even in the final he was playing shots and winners as passing shots which would have beaten any other player in history. Age wise his body was peak at the time, 27 is when most sports people are at the very top of their game, biologically it is the best moment.

I think the 2009 Australian Open final was the last time we saw Peak Federer. You can tell by his movement, he was moving sharp and quick, and probably played better than Nadal overall. His inability to convert important break points hurt him. I think after the 2009 Aus, yes age wise and body wise he should have been able to be at his greatest, but I think too many important defeats to Nadal crushed his spirit and we never saw peak Federer again after that.

You?
 

Sport

Legend
Wimbledon 2009 was the last GS match he was 27 and thus at his athletic prime.

The competitive prime (different from the athletic prime) was longer in my opinion.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
Define prime?

I'm leaning towards Australia 2010.

2011/2012 weren't bad either. But it's when Djokovic finally put it all together and when Nadal became a very consistent force on the HC
 

VaporDude95

Banned
Definitely the AO 2010.

After that he got a lung infection and had to pull out of Dubai. Played shaky but showed signs of prime in Indian Wells and Miami, but losing 2 matches with MPs (to Baghdatis and Berdych) set him on a course of decline and low confidence for the rest of the year.

Was never really the same after that.
 

underground

G.O.A.T.
Definitely the AO 2010.

After that he got a lung infection and had to pull out of Dubai. Played shaky but showed signs of prime in Indian Wells and Miami, but losing 2 matches with MPs (to Baghdatis and Berdych) set him on a course of decline and low confidence for the rest of the year.

Was never really the same after that.
2010 and 2018 had lots of parallels.

Won AO, loses in IW with MP up, slumps for rest of year, loses at Wimby QF as defending champ, loses a slam match whilst holding MP.

Wonder if we'll get a 2012 like resurgence in 2020? Unlikely but one can hope.
 

VaporDude95

Banned
2010 and 2018 had lots of parallels.

Won AO, loses in IW with MP up, slumps for rest of year, loses at Wimby QF as defending champ, loses a slam match whilst holding MP.

Wonder if we'll get a 2012 like resurgence in 2020? Unlikely but one can hope.
Hopefully. Idk but I feel like he has one more somewhere. The draw is bound to open up sooner or later.
 

underground

G.O.A.T.
Hopefully. Idk but I feel like he has one more somewhere. The draw is bound to open up sooner or later.
Probably. I do think something needs to happen before his mojo clicks back. Yesterday his game was there, certainly better than the matches in summer 2018 , but his clutchness wasn't (which lead to those FH shanks on BPs). Losing to Novak at 2011 USO gave him the shock he needed for his #1 run, what will he need this time I wonder.
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
2009 for a full season over slams. Flashes in 2010 AO, YEC, 2011 RG, USO, YEC, 2012 Wimbledon/Cincy.

Different kind of player post racket change so I separate the two.
 

Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
As a Federer and Nadal fan, it has been amazing watching these two over the years. Federer's game around 2007 was just pure art, his movement and strokes are a bit more industrious now as oppose to artistic (but it had to be done to let him play on). Nadal now hitting more aggressively and direct now as he hasn't got the speed to play his old game.

I know some people here believe we saw prime Federer as recently as 2015, but that is nonsense. His footwork by then (and now) has deteriorated so much that he lost perhaps half a step, but that is the difference when you have players like Nadal, Djokovic and Murray to compete with. His forehand or serve may not have lost their pop, but you need to get to the shot first. Otherwise Sampras will still be playing.

We saw the best prime Federer in 2007, that was the best version of him in his greatest years with 3 slams and good competition (as oppose to beating retiring players Agassi before that). We saw prime Federer in 2008, amazing season and would have been a 3 slam year if it wern't for Nadal. On grass, at Wimbledon 2008, he was playing amazing, he didn't lose a set at Halle or at Wimbledon until the final and the commentator were all saying how he is playing flawless tennis on grass. Even in the final he was playing shots and winners as passing shots which would have beaten any other player in history. Age wise his body was peak at the time, 27 is when most sports people are at the very top of their game, biologically it is the best moment.

I think the 2009 Australian Open final was the last time we saw Peak Federer. You can tell by his movement, he was moving sharp and quick, and probably played better than Nadal overall. His inability to convert important break points hurt him. I think after the 2009 Aus, yes age wise and body wise he should have been able to be at his greatest, but I think too many important defeats to Nadal crushed his spirit and we never saw peak Federer again after that.

You?
Prime Federer as I see him is the physically and mentally impervious shotmaker, without mental scars, who plays knowing that the match is completely on his racquet. Regardless of the tournament, surface or opponent, he thinks that, provided he is at his best, he can overcome any external factor in a match.

So my definition is a little different to yours (just my thought on the issue).

I always highlight 2004 USO F as his best ever individual performance and an example of the above.

The last "Prime Federer" performance as I see it was the Rome 2006 final up to the point that he held match point. Even against the ultimate bogeyman, on Roger's worst surface and (importantly) in Bo5, Federer played to an impossibly high level and, I believe, fully expected to win. He played to the point where he held match points, and the rest we know about (not relevant to the discussion).

I think every match after that he knew that there was always the possibility of an external factor stopping him, even at his best.
 

Jezza94

Rookie
Australian Open 2007. Didn't drop a set and was pure perfection.

That semi final performance against Roddick was 10/10.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
WTF 2003-AO 2010
USO 2011-Cincy 2012
Stretches of play on faster courts in 2015 and 2017 but not as consistent.
 

REKX

Rookie
Australian Open 2007. Didn't drop a set and was pure perfection.

That semi final performance against Roddick was 10/10.
Definitely that match against Roddick was superb.

I believe his 2007 form was the greatest of his greatest years.

Age wise and game wise he was there, it was only Nadal that could stop him. I think if Federer sacrificed artistic play on clay that year, he may have had a chance against Nadal. Employing the drop shot and other things, but apart from that he was beyond anything. I don't think we'll see a Federer 2007 level from any player any time soon, could be decades.
 

Otacon

Hall of Fame
1) 2003 Masters - 2007 Dubai : 22-23-24-25 yo

- First slump : defeats against Canas x2 and Volandri.

2) 2007 Hamburg - 2007 TMC : 25-26

- Second slump : Mono plus the emergence of Nadal on all surfaces.

3) 2009 Madrid Open - 2010 Aussie Open : 27-28

- Third slump : Loss of motivation and the emergence of Djokovic.

4) 2011 Basel - 2012 Cincinnati : 30-31

- Fourth Slump : Back issues plus Djoko reaching his prime.

5) 2017 Australian Open - 2018 Rotterdam: 35-36

- Last slump : Old.erer.
 
Here are his end of year rankings........

301
64
29
13
6
2
1
1
1
1

2
1
2
3
2
6
2
3
16
2
3

I think you have to say 2004-2007 are his elite prime, and that his PEAK year was probably 2007 pretty much the end of his athletic prime but with him having never really dropped from being top 3 in the world since it really streaches from 2003-2018. Quite amazing when you think about it. That there isn't much difference in the results from 23 to 37. I don't know what that says about tennis around him or if he is just nearly just as good but I supspect it's a mix of he really is still about that good and that tennis as a whole is somewhat down to still be hanging around.
 

BGod

Legend
He had a setback with illness in 08 and his BP conversion started to plummet.

To me, while he was still great 08-10 he would make mistakes he just didn't in 04-07.

But if we're talking IN ZONE execution, the last match he showed that was 2015 Wimbledon Semi-Final against Murray.

His 2011 is also underrated for the flashes. Particularly the French Open where he was arguably as dangerous as 06.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
He wasn't in his prime in 11-12, his movement had declined too much to be competitive vs Djokodal on the slower courts. He wasn't even at a prime level at Wimby (03-09 were all clearly better). It's really just Cincy, Dubai, and IW where he played flawless tennis. And yeah his consistent level outside the slams was definitely higher than most stretches of 08-10 but the level he brought in slams then was clearly higher and he was prioritizing them, so I give him the edge there. His prime was from 03 TMC-10 AO but I think you can count 11 RG as part of his clay prime because he wasn't yet good on normal clay in 04. Even then 11 RG is the only great clay tournament he played after 09 and the balls were much quicker so who knows.

Same way that Nadal wasn't in his prime 17-18 and I don't believe Djokovic is in his prime now.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
Federer's prime: 2004-07 --> 4 years

Djokovic's prime: 2011-19 --> 9 years

Nadal's prime: 2008-19 --> 12 years
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
LOL?

Fed: 04-10
Nadal: 08-14
Novak: 10-16
Based on what?

Federer after 2007 never won 3 slams in a year again.

Djokovic can win his 3th slam in a row this sunday.

Nadal won 2 slams in 2017 (only in 2010 did better), had his best winning percentage in 2018, and this sunday may win another slam.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
@BGod

Look at the Slam distribution by year since their first:

Federer: 1, 3, 2, 3, 3, 1, 2, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 1, (0?)

Nadal: 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 0, 0, 2, 1, (1/2?)

Djokovic: 1, 0, 0, 3, 1, 1, 1, 3, 2, 0, 2, (1/3?)

Federer's peak was the highest but lasted the least. Nadal's peak was the lowest but lasted the longest. Djokovic is in the middle.
 

aman92

Hall of Fame
You are confusing between prime and peak.. Peak Federer was probably at USO 2007. Prime Federer lasted till USO 2011, I'll argue.
 

BGod

Legend
Based on what?

Federer after 2007 never won 3 slams in a year again.

Djokovic can win his 3th slam in a row this sunday.

Nadal won 2 slams in 2017 (only in 2010 did better), had his best winning percentage in 2018, and this sunday may win another slam.
Understanding the game and circumstances. Novak is having success now because there's no direct competition.

Fed in 09 completes Calendar Slam if not for Nadal and if he doesn't choke against Delpo. In 2010 he's very much in contention but runs into Soderling on clay, Berdych is his best zone and chokes to Novak at USO then wins WTF.

Nadal meanwhile wasn't a real threat outside clay until 08 (06-07 WMB draws were laughable) and while maintaining on clay was in decline by 2014.

Novak clearly disintegrated after 2016 French whether mental or not. ALTHOUGH if he wins next 2 Slams like I DO have him it keans he had the longer contention period BUT his form still isn't 15-16 level.
 
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