As Roger Federer uses this lockdown period to recover from a double knee surgery, there have been debates on whether the Swiss can come back to top Grand Slam-winning form.
A few weeks short of turning 39, Federer has already announced that he will not play competitive tennis till the start of the 2021 season.
But the last time he had taken an injury break, when he underwent knee surgery in 2016, he returned to the tour with a win at the Australian Open in 2017, followed it up with an eighth Wimbledon crown that year, and then defended his title in Melbourne in 2018 to take his Grand Slam tally to a record 20.
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But the veteran Swiss, in ‘The Business of Fashion’ podcast, mentioned that talks of his retirement have been going on for over a decade.
“I already feel like I’ve been on that farewell circuit since I won Roland Garros in 2009, then I won Wimbledon in an epic final against (Andy) Roddick and my daughters were just born,” he said.
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“I thought, it’s over, after this summer (2009), I’ll quit. But then I realized that I was only 28 years old and that I still had a lot to do.
“I still enjoyed playing tennis but the truth is that if at that time they had told me that at 38 or 39 I would still continue playing tennis, that in 2016 they would have operated on my knee, and that in 2019 two more on the other knee, I would have answered: ‘Are you crazy?’”
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After winning the 2012 Wimbledon title, his 17th overall, Federer the current world no 4 had not won a Grand Slam in 15 major appearances, despite reaching the final on three occasions (Wimbledon 2014, 2015 and US Open 2015).
He left the tour briefly after Wimbledon 2016 to undergo knee surgery, and returned to the tour with a memorable win over rival Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open final.
It proved to be a break that rejuvenated his confidence at the Grand Slam stage, and despite the critics and age factor, it’s something that’s expected of him in 2021 as well.
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“The truth is that as long as I don’t have serious risks to my health, my four children and my wife continue to be happy and support me in the pursuit of this dream, if I manage all that and continue to compete against the best and fight for the great tournaments, honestly, I’ll keep playing,” he said.
“I don’t care about traveling. It’s part of my life. I love it. I’ve been traveling the world for over 20 years, without stopping. It’s hard, I’m telling you, when we’re all at home, we had a great time but (also) when we travel too.”
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