Losing a crown right at the outset is not at all how tennis champion Roger Federer would want to ring in the new year, but that’s exactly how it began for the 17-time Grand Slam winner.
Plagued since a week by a flu bug, Federer lost the final of the Brisbane International Tournament to fourth seed Milos Raonic of Canada. Last year, Federer had defeated Raonic to win the title, but on Sunday, he looked visibly fatigued and under the weather, conceding the game 6-4, 6-4 to Raonic, for whom it was an 8th career crown.
By contrast, Federer’s greatest rival at present, Novak Djokovic had smooth sailing at the Qatar Open final, in which he crushed Rafael Nafal in just 73 minutes, grabbing an easy victory by defeating the Spaniard 6-1, 6-2. Djokovic appears to be in his finest form yet, this latest win at Doha being his 60th career title, with optimism at a high for the year that’s just begun.