Roger Federer won four titles in 2019 and compiled a 53:10 win-loss record. While a Grand Slam victory slipped from his grasp, it was still a hugely successful year for the Swiss and relatively uncharted territory for a player of 38 years to still be at the very top of the game.
With only a couple of matches left for Federer to play in 2019 at the Hangzhou Tennis International Invitational Tournament from December 27-29th, I thought I'd look at what I think his best matches of this season were.
Here are my top picks, in chronological order.
Federer def. Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5 6-3, Miami Masters R128
Federer's first match at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and it was tough. Coming in off the back off a narrow loss to Thiem in the Indian Wells final, the Swiss had to dig deep against the rock-solid Albot who had just won the Delray Beach title in similar conditions a few miles up the road.
Dig deep he did, prevailing in three sets to set up the title-winning run that saw him defeat Krajinovic, Medvedev, Anderson and Shapovalov before cruising past Isner in the final.
Federer def. Monfils 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (3), Madrid Open R16
A lot of Federer fans can only ever remember matches Federer has lost when he held match points, but he's also won plenty of encounters when he's had to save them.
The match in Madrid against Gael Monfils was one of them and saw the Swiss shake off losing five games in a row, a 1-4 final set deficit and two match points to make the quarter-finals of his clay comeback at the Caja Magic.
Federer def. Coric 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7), Rome Masters, R16
More struggle tennis for Federer and for the second tournament in a row he had to fend off match points to come through 🙂
Definitely not an all-time classic in terms of Roger's level but the point at 2-5 followed by the two at 5-6 in the tie break make it one of my favourite matches of 2019.
Federer def. Tsonga 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5, Halle R16
I was able to watch four of Federer's matches live this year in Halle and looking back I think the Tsonga match was my favourite.
The Frenchman played an exciting match, but like some of my previous picks earlier from the season, Roger survived, playing a clutch tie break and going for his shots under pressure to come through. That backhand down the line to break at 5-5. Class.
Federer def. Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, Wimbledon R16
No Federer season is complete without at least one schooling, and unfortunately for Matteo Berrettini, he was on the receiving end of one at Wimbledon.
After winning Stuttgart and making the semi-finals in Halle, the Italian had shown plenty of grass-court pedigree. But not here as Roger took him apart in a clinical display dropping just five games.
Federer def. Rafael Nadal 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3 6-4, Wimbledon Semi-Final
This match sadly gets overlooked given the five-set final where Roger had two match points against Djokovic, but I think this was probably Federer's best match of the year.
Nadal is at his most dangerous in the second week of SW19, but Roger played such a clean match to dispatch the Spaniard. Calm, composed throughout and was able to keep his energy levels high from start to finish.
Federer def. Radu Albot 6-0, 6-3 Basel R16
While the Nadal match at Wimbledon was Federer's best tennis of the year, the one in Basel against Albot was the most entertaining. And who'd have thought the Moldovan would be the only player to feature twice in my favourite matched of 2019? 😄
The crowd were loving it, Federer was flying, and Albot played his part too with his cheeky grins after playing perfect points but still losing them. 75% of first serves in, 32 winners, including 15 from the forehand. Awesome!
Federer def. Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, RR ATP Finals
Federer's penultimate match of the season was a do or die encounter against Djokovic and the first time they'd met since the Serb triumphed at Wimbledon.
Roger had looked average at best in his first two matches at the ATP Finals, but he was able to throw in a Rolls Royce performance to take out Djokovic with a clinical display of first-strike tennis.
What were your favourite Federer matches of 2019? Are there any standout performances I've not included in my list? Let me know in the comments.
Federer a Decade of Legacy Building