Roger Federer turned 40 a few days ago, receiving tons of messages from friends and colleagues. The rest of the Swiss's career hangs by a thread, as his knee continues to give him many problems despite the two operations he underwent in 2020.
Suffice it to say that the former world number 1 has only played five tournaments since his return to the tour, with the quarters achieved at Wimbledon as the best result. The 20-time Grand Slam champion had to give up the Tokyo Olympics due to a relapse in his operated knee, a very hard blow for King Roger who was chasing the gold medal in singles.
Shortly thereafter, news broke that Federer would also miss the Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cincinnati. In the absence of further details, his presence at the US Open is far from certain. Meanwhile, former Roland Garros champion Adriano Panatta wrote a beautiful letter to Federer on the occasion of his 40th birthday.
Panatta was the last Italian to win a Grand Slam (the French Open in 1976), a feat that allowed him to rise to number 4 ATP.
Panatta pays tribute to Roger Federer
"Dear Roger Federer, first of all best wishes for your 40th birthday," wrote Adriano Panatta.
"I don't remember exactly when I saw you play the first time, but I have well in mind the impression you gave me: you were little more than a kid, but you had something different than the others. It must have been the elegance of the strokes, the grace in the movements: you (Roger Federer) were special," Panatta went on.
"And in fact - it was not difficult to predict - you have become what you have become: a unique, inimitable player, perhaps the strongest, certainly the one who plays best." According to Panatta, there can never be another player who wields a tennis racquet like the Swiss.
The Italian believes Federer has firmly etched his name in tennis history and has earned the right to retire on his own terms. "Many ask me if there will be players similar to Federer in the future. I do not believe it," the Italian continued.
"Also because the prototype of the modern player is different. Roger has to stop when he feels like it, without letting himself be influenced. Federer will remain forever, the one who plays like no other." Over the years, visiting various cities and blending with various cultures can take a toll on players.
Interacting with the media and fans while constantly changing hotels can get strenuous at times. In the end, mental fatigue can make an appearance and if a player can manage that, they can do wonders. The Swiss ace has done this well.