Opponents of Federer. Some doubt the necessity for such a phrase, given the unparalleled position of historical dominance that Federer holds over the mens' game. Such a phrase is, however more than necessary and indeed very relevant, for Federer after all only won 20 grand slams, and many of them in very precarious fashion - unbeatable yet very beatable! Who are the top 4 on our list of these people who have bothered Federer throughout his career, excluding Djokovic, Murray or Nadal? Read on to find out!
The rivalry of Federer with this opponent of his is probably the most unfortunate of all. Although Federer leads by 18-6 in his head-to-head with Del Potro, all six of those losses came in the tournaments that mattered the most to Federer (2 of them in grand slams, 2 in the ATP world tour finals, and 2 in Basel - his hometown). His specialty in consistently hammering the balls in steady rallies have brought Federer great distress on numerous occasions, particularly during the time when Federer mainly adopted a baseliner gameplay. His numerous 5-set encounters with Federer in grand slams is testament to such.
It could be argued, that Berdych is a variation of Federer. His forehand technique allows him to pinpoint his shots, and hit with a level of accuracy, apparently shared by none other than Roger Federer. This combined with a huge degree of power has, like in Del Potro's case, caused serious problems during the time when Federer was typically hugging the baseline. Their head-to-head record lies at 20-6 (interesting because Del Potro also won 6 matches), but again like Del Potro a disproportionate number of the wins by Berdych came at moments which mattered most to Roger Federer - particularly in the 2010 Wimbledon championships.
This would no doubt have been the most surprising one. Is he not the kind of person who looks like he loses to Federer in all their encounters. Evidently not. Tsonga, with his brilliant offensive baseline gameplay coupled with a world-class court dexterity, has been able to plunge holes in Federer's game on many occasions. In fact, he is tied to both Berdych and Del Potro in too having six career victories over Federer. In fact their most recent play history is not favourable at all for Roger Federer, given that those two were victories for Tsonga!
It goes without saying, in given the way recent events have went, that this person would appear on this list. His height-given power and unusually good movement for someone of his height, makes him a much more competitive player than either Berdych or Del Potro. His ability to tear apart Roger Federer is most strikingly displayed in the 2014 US Open, in straight sets (none of the other 'giants' has ever pulled off something like this.) Wimbledon was a near-disaster for Federer on account of Cilic's blastful strokes and defensive dexterity. The 2018 Australian Open final was also not the easy win that critics predicted. As such, he holds the number one spot, for now and perhaps also for some time into the future.
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