• Federer Will Play Clay While Chasing ATP Victory 100

    What is the psychological significance of double or triple figures?

    The best psychologists have yet to figure that out to the extent that provides any sort of definitive answer.

    Cricket batters often cruise into the 90s before getting that deer-in-the headlight paralysis that finds them dragging the willow back to the shed just short of the ton.

    Basketball players in the hunt for the triple-double often find the 10 points and 10 rebound legs secure, but find that 10th assist extremely elusive. In some cases, the 10s come easily on the points and assists portions, but the rebounds are the elusive aspect.

    Even in daily life, those of us who need/want to lose 10 kg often find the first nine easy, but the last one more of a challenge than expected.

    Baseball players who hit for a .299 average will spend the offseason lamenting that final percentage, when objectively, the difference between said .299 hitter and a .301 hitter is essentially nil.

    What has our numerology senses on full alert?

    Roger Federer.

    Arguably the best tennis player ever to wield racquet, Federer is stuck on 99 ATP singles titles. He won 99 on his home ground in Basel October past, but has seen the three-figure-round number elude him.

    He has made it to two semifinals since that win in Switzerland. He went out in the fourth round of the 2019 Australian Open.

    His most recent outing in the Dubai Championships saw Federer threatened by a player he has beaten 13 times without a loss.

    Even someone like Federer, whose cool demeanour and ability to focus on the moment, is doubtless thinking of ticking the meter from 99 to 100 every time he takes the court.

    Federer has announced that he will play the clay court circuit this year, including the Madrid Open and the French Open.

    It is doubtful that number 100 would come in either of those events, unless someone bestows on Federer the gift of dispatching Rafael Nadal prior to the final.

    Without doubt, Federer will sigh heavily and drop the weight from his shoulders when he finally wins title number 100, after which he can begin his chase of the next big, round number, which the psychologists will tell you, is not 200, but 1,000.