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Roger Federer’s Wimbledon loss shows he’s likely to win another Grand Slam

After a heartbreaking Wimbledon loss to Novak Djokovic, the sports world will once again wonder whether Roger Federer will ever win another major. Federer turns 33 next month and has only played in three of the last 18 major finals. He may never again be as close to a Grand Slam as he was on Sunday, when he gave up an early lead to Djokovic, then survived a harrowing fourth set to extend the match to a decisive fifth. But does that mean he won’t have a chance to win another? For The Win debunks some of the most popular misconceptions about the chances of Roger Federer winning an 18th Grand Slam.

False: He’s too old to compete in best-of-five matches.

Federer, at 32, looked more fresh at the end of Sunday’s five-setter than the 27-year-old Djokovic. It was Djokovic who had to see the trainer twice during the match, not Federer. He lost that last set, of course, but it wasn’t because of conditioning.

False: Wimbledon 2014 was the perfect storm in terms of draw, scheduling and opponents.

This has been the most popular refrain over the fortnight, even if the evidence doesn’t bear it out.

1. Federer didn’t have a murderer’s row in the first week, but who does? (Don’t act like Nadal getting the middling Lukas Rosol was some profound stroke of bad luck.) Federer had to face Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals. Djokovic, by comparison, faced Marin Cilic.

Yes, Nadal getting ousted before a potential Federer-Nadal semifinal was beneficial. Anyone would rather face Milos Raonic than Nadal. But Nadal has three Wimbledon wins in his past three appearances at the tournament! That’s as many as Federer had from Tuesday to Friday. It’s not as if Rafa is the world-beater on grass that he was in 2008 and 2010.

2. The schedule actually worked against Federer. Because of last Saturday’s rain, Federer had to play his last four matches in six days. He had the hardest quarterfinal opponent of the Big Four. And, let’s not forget, Federer had to play Novak Djokovic in the final! This wasn’t the 2009 French Open, when Federer had to dodge Nadal in the final. It’s not 2010 Wimbledon, when Nadal dodged Federer and Djokovic and played Tomas Berdych to win. Though it was a fairly pedestrian road to the final, that’s the rule, not the exception. Federer certainly didn’t get a lucky break from the weather or scheduling gods.

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