Ahead of Roger Federer’s comeback, his long-time physical trainer Pierre Paganini has opened up on the struggles to get him fit after the two knee surgeries.
The 39-year-old has missed more than a year due to the injury. His fans are hoping that his return this time is as successful as the one in 2017, but Paganini would prefer to wait and watch.
Federer had comeback from a six-month injury layoff in 2016 and went on to win the 2017 Australian Open at the age of 35. He won two more majors after that to take his tally to 20.
“The big difference from 2016 is that when he took a break after Wimbledon in 2016, his muscles were always there,” Paganini told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
“Now we had a total break where the muscles deteriorated considerably. It was a long time between the first operation and the time of July (when he had his second). In which we said we could gradually start working again.
“His muscles were no longer in the same condition, the imbalances were extreme. His muscles could no longer work immediately and needed more recovery time.
“Towards the beginning of October, we started (training) at the lowest level. However, we tried from the beginning to incorporate coordination aspects into the structure.”
Even though careful scheduling helped Federer avoid injuries for most part of his career, things have been more difficult in the past few years. The Swiss will turn 40 this year and Paganini believes that Federer will take the risk v reward into consideration before planning ahead.
“He will never risk his health,” he said. “He won’t overdo anything if it doesn’t make sense. He is every strategic and farsighted.
“Roger is someone who always sees things positively. And as long as he could play and train freely, it wasn’t a big problem either. When he did it and decided to have surgery, he assumed all responsibility.”
Federer’s much-anticipated comeback at the 2021 Australian Open was pushed back as he had not recovered fully. The 20-time major champion is set to return at the Qatar Open, which begins on March 8.