Roger Federer 'is vulnerable' at U.S. Open, says Nick Bollettieri

Roger Federer is the greatest player in the modern tennis era, perhaps even of all time, but is Roger Federer's stellar career fading to twilight?

The 17-time grand slam champion is "in a very vulnerable state" ahead of his opening match at the U.S. Open, according to top coach Nick Bollettieri.

Federer regained the world No. 1 ranking with last year's record-equaling seventh Wimbledon title, but this season he has struggled with both his game and his fitness, and is seeded seventh for the season's closing grand slam in New York.

"Roger Federer is great for the game. He's fantastic on court and fantastic off court. He's well respected, and he respects all the opponents that he plays," Bollettieri told CNN.

"Roger is in a very vulnerable state. He's in a vulnerable position because he's moved down to No. 7 now. Remember Pete Sampras went through a tough period. Fortunately for Pete he won a big one before he left the tour.

"My Andre Agassi went from No. 1 to No. 142 in the world, and he left on a pretty good note. What we don't want to remember is Roger Federer leaving on a low note.

"He's been fantastic, he moves beautifully, he does everything with ease. This is a big tournament for Roger Federer."

"However, I believe that the U.S. Open and the Australian Open (in January) is going to tell the story."

Federer is coached by Paul Annacone, a former student of Bollettieri who also worked with Sampras for several years.

"I believe right now Roger cannot win just standing on the baseline. I believe he has to come in," Bollettieri said.

Bollettieri is concerned that an underwhelming end to his career could undo the Federer legacy.

"It would be a shame if people forgot who he was," he said. "Look at what he brought to the game. He brought class. He lived a beautiful private life.

"He's quiet. He's always respectful of the sport. He's respectful of his opponents. You don't find too many people who represent life, whether it be business or sports, like this guy.

"Roger has been an ambassador on the court, and an ambassador off the court. How can you be much better than Roger Federer? He's just a credit to the tour. He's a credit to his foundation. So it'll be awful tough to replace Roger Federer."

"The sport is very lucky to have had a Roger Federer."

Date: 27th August 2013, Source: CNN


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