Roger Federer is back in Cincinnati, a tourney that has been very kind to him historically. He is the defending Champion of the Western & Southern Open, an ATP Masters 1000 tournament and his last before the U.S. Open begins play.
Federer has won the Cincinnati event 5 times but has slipped to 5th in the World and finds himself seeded behind Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal in the event. It begs the question as to how many more ATP Masters or Major Titles can he win as he is firmly in the twilight of his career.
This tournament will be a good litmus test for Federer with 9 out of the top 10 ranked players in the World in the field. Federer has certainly been competitive in Grand Slam events but has not made it to a Final of a Major since winning Wimbledon in 2012. Again, the question of whether the end is near for the 32 year old.
If the end is around the corner, Federer certainly has not led on to that fact as questions of that nature generally lead to an answer eluding to his looking forward to the next tournament and trying to win the next event he is entered. And Cincinnati is no exception as Federer arrived early to train for the event.
There is also the question of a back injury that forced the 17 time Grand Slam Champion from competing in Montreal last week, choosing for more time to prepare for the Cincinnati Masters. When asked about his status going into this weeks tournament, Federer replied that he is, "fit and mentally motivated”. In the past, that usually spelled trouble for opponents.
It will be interesting as to Federer's play in the coming week, it could very well be a preview of things to come in New York in a few weeks.