In this history of tennis, there are only a handful of players who can hit every shot with the same elegancy and sophistication and one such player is Roger Federer. His effortless and graceful moves are like poetry in motion. The Swiss national turned pro in 1998. From a young age, Federer was destined for greatness.
He first received the limelight when he (at only 19 years) defeated Peter Sampras (at that time world No.1) in 2001 Wimbledon quarterfinals. His veteran career is graced with multiple firsts- He is the first player to win 20 grand slam titles, the first to remain at top of the ATP rankings for 310 weeks, the first player to remain world no. 1 for 237 consecutive weeks, the first player to win five consecutive US Open, the first player to win 8 Wimbledon titles and the list goes on. Roger Federer is 38 years old and is like, fine wine getting better with age.
Achieving what Federer achieved is not a piece of cake. It requires sheer dedication and will power, especially when one encounters decimating injury. In 2016, Federer had knee surgery to fix up torn meniscus in his left knee due to this he descended to world No.17 in the ranking. However, like a true warrior, he made a strong comeback in 2017 and won the Australian Open by defeating arch-rival, Rafael Nadal. This was his 18th Grand Slam title and ended his four-year grand slam drought. He also won Wimbledon in the same year. The concussion of age and knee injury was vividly reflected in Federer’s performance post-2017. He started the year brilliantly and bagged his 20th Gram slam title in Australia. This was his only silver lining in 2018.
With time his form gradually declined. He lost to Juan Martin Del Porto in the finals of Indian Wells Masters despite having a match point against the Argentine. Next, he was beaten by 175th-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis in Miami Open second round. The Swiss national missed clay season and failed to reach Gram slam Semifinals.
He extended the same form in 2019. He started the season with the fourth round, lost against Stefanos Tsistsipas in the Australian Open. He then lost his second consecutive Indian wells finals. However, he won Miami Open and reached Wimbledon finals where he was beaten by Novak Djokovic in a marathon match. In 2020 after beating Tennys Sandgren by saving seven match points in the Australian Open Quarterfinals the fatigue was visible in his semi-final clash against Djokovic. Djokovic easily trounced over him in four sets.
Roger Federer faced another setback injury in March 2020, and this time it was his right knee. Due to which he is sidelined till June and was expecting a return at Wimbledon. Injuries in quick succession and degrading form have also led to the speculations of retirement. However, due to Covid-19 the season went on hiatus and resulted in the postponement/cancellation of ATP tournaments. This hiatus has shattered tennis fans’ hearts, but it might prove to be a blessing in disguise for Roger Federer. It’s significant for him in the following ways.
- Recovery from injury– Federer recently got his right knee operated and required a couple of months to rehab. Since the tournaments are either canceled or postponed, it will ensure Federer recover without missing action and will ultimately eliminate the agitation of the missing circuit.
- Regaining Form– Since 2017 his form curve has constantly gone downward with only a handful of ups in it. This hiatus will help him in gaining his lost touch and magic. Federer recently kneeled during the high-pressure situation. This lockdown will help him in installing self believe and delivering astonishing performance in the future.
- Focus on Fitness– Both technical and physical assistance has become an indispensable part of the game. Lately, Federer has failed to register a victory against elite players and one of the reasons is fatigue which ultimately results in an imprudent decision. Federer can utilize this quarantine period to focus on his physical fitness and can also scrutinize matches videos to find out the loophole in his game.
- Eagerness to return– In his veteran career only at a few and extreme occasions, he has missed the action or retired from the match. He is known for fighting till his last breath. He has not experienced this big hiatus in his career and is only acquainted with spending time on the court. This will enlighten the eagerness in him to return to action and do what he does best.
Federer is already 38 and currently ranked no.3 which also makes him the oldest player in the top 10 in the ATP rankings. His game might have been topsy-turvy lately, but on several occasions, he has proved he’s still the best and has a lot to offer. Roger Federer is like fine wine and gets better with age. Fans are hoping to see GOAT back on the court and would love to see him adding few more Grand slam titles under his belt.
© The Eastern Herald