Roger Federer from start to today. In this new column, we will explore the Swiss Maestro's career, focusing our analysis in several stages not only on his victories and his records, but also on anecdotes, events that happened behind the scenes, and curiosities.
In short, the genesis of a champion. 2016 was the worst year of the Swiss' career. After two years of collaboration with Stefan Edberg, Roger hired Ivan Ljubicic as his new coach. The year was very unfortunate for him, who, due to a knee problem and performances under expectations closed his season prematurely after the Wimbledon semifinal, lost against Milos Raonic.
For the first time in his career, he didn't even win a title, and for many media and insiders, 2016 seemed to be the end of his career. "I doubted myself in 2016 because I had never been in that situation before. If this had happened at 22 years old, even if I was out for two years I was still young and I would have been fine again, but time is no longer on my side now and you feel like every year that passes.
It is more difficult to win against the best, to win the most important tournaments, so that was my biggest concern. But I knew that I would be able to get back in the way," said Roger, some months after. At the beginning of 2017, Federer came back to amaze the world: starting as seed no.
17, the Swiss Maestro reached the Australian Open final, beating his nemesis Rafael Nadal in an epic and vintage final. Just two months later he triumphed at the Sunshine Double (beating Nadal two more times). After skipping the clay swing, Federer won his eighth Wimbledon against Marin Cilic in July, definitively overcoming William Renshaw and Pete Sampras.
A legendary season ended with 7 titles, 2 Slams and three ATP Masters 1000. An answer to those who thought that the time for the retirement was around the corner. In 2018 Federer confirmed his victory at the Australian Open, once again beating Cilic. It was his 20th Slams.
Unbelievable. A few weeks later he came back, for a few days, world no. 1, at 37 years old! The rest of 2018 was a year of ups and downs, with the sensational defeat at Wimbledon against Kevin Anderson. When asked if his tennis played in 2017-2018 was the best of his career, Federer said: "Maybe.
It's different, the game has changed. I had to adapt. In terms of percentage of victories, it was definitely one of my greatest career moments. 2005, 2006 and 2007 were also incredible. I played a lot in those years, around 25 tournaments per season.
Now I can't do it anymore. What's more difficult? Play a lot, win a lot. Or play less and win a lot. If you get less opportunity, you also have more pressure. I think it's nice that my game has evolved," he said.
2019 will be especially remembered for the sensational final lost at Wimbledon against Djokovic, despite the fact that he had two match points on his service: "At Wimbledon 2019 it was the last time I cried. On the pitch and during the awards ceremony I held back with difficulty, once in the locker room a few tears fell, I collapsed."
But what should be said to a player who, between 2017 and 2019, won 15 titles, including 3 Slams, delighting the crowds across the globe? After his loss at the 2020 Australian Open semifinal against Djokovic and the legendary Match for Africa 6, Federer decided to have surgery on his right knee.
The spread of the Coronavirus has for now blocked tennis, but when the pandemic has passed, Roger Federer will come back again on the court, ready to surprise us all again.