Despite turning 34, Roger Federer was an impressive winner of a seventh Cincinnati Masters title last weekend, seeing off world number one — and US Open favourite — Novak Djokovic in the final It was the Swiss star’s 87th tour title and revenge for losing a second successive Wimbledon final to the Serb last month. But Federer has stumbled badly in New York in recent years. A five-time champion from 2004- 2008, he was runner-up to Juan Martin del Potro in 2009 but hasn’t been back to the final since.
In contrast to the Swiss player’s staying power is Nadal’s swift, brutal decline. The 29-year-old Spaniard, the 2010 and 2013 champion in New York, has endured a tough year, the knee joints and wrists looking stiffer and weaker. After being deposed as French Open champion — his quarter-final loss to Djokovic was only his second ever defeat in Paris — Nadal slumped to 10 in the world, his lowest ranking for a decade.
He has recovered to eight, but he is no longer the player that once struck terror into rivals. “I never consider myself a big, big star. So I appreciate when all the good things are happening to me,” said Nadal. “I am having a tough year, yes. Not a terrible year. I cannot make a drama about these kind of things. This is not the moment to cry.”