If, back in September, someone had asked me which was likelier to happen—Donald Trump winning the election, the wrong film being announced as the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, or Roger Federer winning the 2017 Australian Open and reestablishing himself as the dominant figure in the men’s game—I would have laughed and said none of the above.
Six months hence, Trump is tweeting from the Lincoln Bedroom, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is reeling from the biggest embarrassment in the history of the Oscars, and Federer, after winning the Australian, is closing in on a sunshine double and looking virtually unbeatable.
I have thoughts about Trump and about Moonlight (I haven’t seen La La Land), but this is not the place to express them. I also have thoughts about Federer, which I’m happy to share. That he won the Australian at the age of 35, five years after he’d last won a major and after taking six months off to rehab his knee, was nuts. That he has gone on to win Indian Wells and is now on course to take Miami, too, is mind-bending. This season was shaping up to be his farewell tour, or at least the prelude to one. Instead, it has become the Federer Revival Tour, and who knows where it goes from here. An eighth Wimbledon crown? Another U.S. Open? A second French? Can he pull even again with Serena for total grand slam singles titles? How about a gold medal in Tokyo in three years? For reasons you can surely understand, I am now out of the business of ruling things out—and with Federer at the moment, anything really does seem possible.