One tennis tragedy may be inevitable in 2022… and the tears will flow for Roger Federer

Roger Federer waving

It has been a story many tennis fans have been dreading for many a long year and, sadly, 2022 is likely to see the tearful exit of Roger Federer from the tennis stage.

At the age of 40, the retirement of the most popular player to ever pick up a racket has come a lot later than we might have expected, with the global pandemic possibly delaying confirmation that the 20-time Grand Slam champion was hanging up his rackets for the last time.

Federer is currently recuperating from knee surgery and while he has suggested he intends to try and make a return to action at some point this year, he has admitted there are doubts over whether they will be realistic.

“I will be able to resume running quietly in January and resume sessions on the court with complex support in March or April,” he said in his most recent interview with  Swiss publication Le Matin.

“I therefore estimate my return to competition in the summer of 2022. I would be extremely surprised if I could play Wimbledon.”

“At 40 or 41, it’s the same. The question is whether I can push myself hard day after day. Today, my heart says yes. So I’m going step by step.

“It’s another challenge like I’ve faced many times in my career, sometimes without the public realizing it. And even if I know very well that the end is near, I want to try to play some more big matches. It won’t be easy but we’re going to try.”

Roger Federer Wimbledon media duties

Federer will not want his final appearance on court to be a 6-0 set against Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon and that may be his biggest motivation to make a return against all the odds, but his friend and former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman is not sure he will be back on court.

We just have to hope Roger’s rehabilitation goes well and he can get himself back up to a good level,” Henman told Tennis365 at an Amazon Prime event.

“He wants to compete at the highest level and it is not going to get any easier for him. To compete at the highest level will be tough, but his eagerness to come back is incredible. 

“Roger has achieved so much and has nothing to prove, but he wants to come back and play again and it will be great for the sport if he can reach the level he expects of himself.”

Federer may not end his career with the statistics to back up a claim that he is the greatest player of all-time, but he will be marked down in the record books as the most cherished performer the sport has seen.

That much was confirmed as Federer won the Fans’ Favourite trophy in the 2021 ATP Awards, making it 19 successive years that he has claimed that honour.

He only managed to play 14 matches in an injury-hit 2021 season and with doubts over whether he will play again, few would be surprised if we see the final hurrah for the greatest showman of them all in the next 12 months.

The tears will flow wherever Federer opts to say his farewell, but the legacy he leaves behind will never be tarnished.