Roger Federer continues to defy logic when it comes to competing at the top echelons of tennis and his hunger for success appears unrelenting.
After a demoralising five-set defeat to Milos Raonic in the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, concerns resurfaced over the Swiss’ immediate future in the sport, but after five months of rehabilitation and recovery, he returned to the tour and exceeded all expectations.
After going five years without a Grand Slam title, he began the season in style at the Australian Open and despite turning 36 in August, Federer has continued to enjoy a remarkable renaissance in form that few could have predicted.
His victory at the Swiss Indoors Basel in October clinched an ATP World Tour-leading seventh title of the year and moved him ahead of Ivan Lendl into second place on the Open Era titles list with a 95th title, only trailing Jimmy Connors, who owns 109 trophies.
We take a look at five tournaments which define Federer’s sparkling campaign…
Federer, fresh off the back of kicking off his year at the Hopman Cup, arrived at Melbourne Park with minimal expectations but picked up notable victories over top 10 players Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori on his way to a semi-final meeting with countryman Stan Wawrinka.
The match didn’t disappoint as Federer defied his lower seeding to overcome the 2014 champion despite initially faltering from two sets to the good.
The final saw the Swiss face his great rival Rafael Nadal and once again the pair served up a classic. The stars aligned for Federer as he recovered from a break deficit in the fifth to secure, incredibly, his first victory over the Spaniard in a Grand Slam tournament since the 2007 Wimbledon final.
Due to their rankings, the pair met early doors in the fourth round with Federer proving that his Australian Open was not a one-off. The Swiss secured his third straight victory over Nadal in ruthless fashion coming out on top 6-2 6-3 with a performance which was highlighted by some aggressive baseline hitting particularly off the backhand wing.
The job wasn’t done though in the desert and after a walkover against Nick Kyrgios and a straight-sets win over Jack Sock, Federer was faced with another meeting with Wawrinka.
Nevertheless, Federer once again came out on top in the all-Swiss meeting to become the oldest player to win a Masters 1000 title and did so without dropping a set.
Federer was well and truly back at the top of the sport – something which seemed scarcely believable a mere few months earlier…
The purple patch continued for Federer when the Swiss great pocketed his third Sunshine Double. His title took him to world No 4 which was fully justified when you take a look at the players he beat along the way.
He was too strong for the former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro on his way to a tricky quarter-final meeting with Berdych. The Czech brought up two match points in a deciding third-set tiebreak but Federer saved both before prevailing.
The tough challenge wasn’t over, however, and Federer was pushed all the way by Kyrgios in a semi-final which went to three successive tie-breaks.
Once again Federer met Nadal and for the fourth time running, came out as the victor to claim his first Miami title in 11 years with some unstoppable tennis. By the time Federer left Miami he had won 19 out of his 20 matches on tour in the season.
A look at Roger Federer's incredible season so far, which has seen him win both Masters events he's entered since winning the Australian Open
He would then go on to miss the entire clay court season to concentrate on challenging for his 19th Grand Slam title, with Wimbledon firmly in his focus.
Federer’s grass court season started in inauspicious fashion in losing to the veteran German Tommy Haas at the Stuttgart Open. The defeat was the first time since Wimbledon in 2002 that he lost an opening-round match at a grass-court event.
However, the Swiss returned to form with a bang by securing a record-extending ninth Halle title without losing a set on the way, powering past Alexander Zverev in the final.
Federer came into Wimbledon as the overwhelming favourite and lived up to that billing – gaining revenge over Milos Raonic, who had beaten him in last year’s semi-finals, on the way.
In the final, he breezed past Marin Cilic to pocket a record eighth Wimbledon title, in doing so qualifying for the season’s denouement – the ATP Finals in London.
And he recorded straightforward straight sets victories in his opening three matches in China over Diego Schwartzman, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Richard Gasquet before a tough semi-final encounter over an inspired del Potro which went the distance.
Federer then claimed his sixth title of the year with his fifth successive victory over Nadal with a ruthless display which saw him outclass his great rival.
Highlights of Rafael Nadal against Roger Federer in the final of the Shanghai Masters
Federer, seemingly mentally and physically stronger than ever, will now aim to cap off his wonderful year with the ATP Finals acting as the denouement to the season.
Roger Federer spoke to Sky Sports after winning the Shanghai Masters and said that his focus was the ATP Finals in London Federer’s 2017 season leading into ATP Finals Australian Open Final [won against Rafael Nadal] Dubai Second round [lost against Evgeny Donskoy] Indian Wells Final [won against Stan Wawrinka] Miami Final [won against Rafael Nadal] Stuttgart Second round [lost against Tommy Haas] Halle Final [won against Alexander Zverev] Wimbledon Final [won against Marin Cilic] Montreal Final [lost against Alexander Zverev] US Open Quarter-Finals [lost against Juan Martin del Potro] Shanghai Final [won against Rafael Nadal] Basel Final [won against Juan Martin del Potro] Win-Loss 49-4 Titles 7
The Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and season-ending extravaganza ATP Finals at London’s O2 in November end another memorable year which will be covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with live blogs and updates as the season reaches its climax.
On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation. Who will win the World Tour Finals this year? Have your say…