Will playing doubles help Roger Federer regain his form?

Zee Media Bureau/Manushree Chaumal

New Delhi: Roger Federer, the name sparks excitement. Probably that also explains his partnering with lowly Chinese Zhang Ze at the Shanghai Masters 2013.

With a dismal 2013, his partnering with the Chinese, ranked 271 in singles and 437 in doubles, comes as a surprise. He is of course a crowd puller. His doubles opener at the Shanghai Masters was a house full.

Federer has no qualms about his 2013 season. He was quoted as saying, "I always knew that this year, after a very tough year in 2012, the Olympics (and winning Wimbledon), was going to be a bit more quiet."

Perhaps, it is toughness and mental strength, the former world no.1 is made of. With discussions over his retirement and cloud of doubt hovering over his qualification in ATP World Tours, the Swiss is already looking forward to the 2014 season.

It is for the first time since 2001, that Federer is in danger of not playing the ATP finals, a tournament which he considers as one of his favourites. Will he be able to make it? Stats are not very supportive.

Currently ranked seventh, Federer will meet world no.2 Novak Djokovic in the Shanghai quarter-finals. Federer is only 105 points behind Frenchman Richard Gasquet who is also racing towards the ATP qualification along with in-form Stanislas Wawrinka and Milos Raonic.

In 2013, Federer did not reach any major final for the first time since 2002, won only one tournament, the lowly Halle tournament. He lost the Australian Open semi-finals to Andy Murray, was defeated by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the French Open, was ousted by Sergiy Stakhovsky in Wimbledon and gave an easy win to Tommy Robredo in the US Open.

It’s definitely not a cakewalk for the Swiss to qualify for the tournament of which he has been an inseparable part of since 2002. A player of his caliber can of course turn down tides, but since he is in the twilight zone of his career, let’s just enjoy his game in whichever stage of any tournament he plays in, irrespective of the results.