Sadly, the days of Roger Federer challenging for top prizes are inevitably coming to an end
The coronavirus pandemic may have rocked tennis to its core in recent weeks, but now another seismic shockwave has rippled through the sport after Roger Federer confirmed he will not play again in 2020 after suffering a setback in his attempts to recover from a knee injury.
Fears that we may have seen the player named as the greatest of all-time in the Tennis365 top 10 list will be aired and this time, his road to recovery appears to be more challenging than at any point in his career.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion underwent surgery in February to address his knee concern and was planning to return action for the grass-court season that was due to get underway this week.
With the coronavirus pandemic halting the tennis tour indefinitely, Federer appeared to have been presented with a window to make a full recovery before a potential resumption of action in August, yet he revealed his latest injury setback in a social media message on Wednesday morning.
“Dear fans,” he wrote. “A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure on my right knee,” he posted.
“Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100% ready to play at my highest level. I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.”
With Federer due to celebrate his 39th birthday on August 8th, doubts over his ability to return to the top of the game will now be aired, with the Swiss maestro in danger of his seeing his all-time record Grand Slam title haul overtaken by the time he next takes to the court.
“I think it’s going to be pretty difficult for him to challenge for the Grand Slams when we start again,” former British No 1 Greg Rusedski told Tennis365. “He 39 by then and winning major titles at that age will be very tough.
“I have been watching videos of Novak Djokovic practising, Nadal is back on the court and I just don’t see what new dimensions Federer can bring into his game at this stage to win Grand Slam titles at this stage of his career if those two guys are at their best.
“Last year at the US Open, Roger got tired in the heat and lost out in the quarter-finals and while it would be a great story if he could win one of the big ones again, I still think Djokovic and Nadal are still the guys the rest will need to beat from this point forward.”
Rusedski’s pessimistic words were muttered before news of Federer’s latest injury setback were confirmed, with this latest news muddying the waters further for a champion who has transcended his own sport over the last two decades.
Federer was recently named as the highest-earning sportsman in 2019, with his appeal to an audience way beyond the tennis court ensuring we have not heard the last of a great man who will contribute so much to the world when his sporting days come to an end.
Yet sadly for tennis fans, the days of Federer challenging for top prizes are inevitably coming to an end and the only hope can be that he has one final, golden moment to serve up for a sport that will soon need to come to terms with the departure of their its greatest asset.
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