Roger Federer's return to the tour did not have the desired effects. It was clear from the start that the Swiss veteran was far from an acceptable condition, having undergone two knee operations last year. The former world number 1 played just 13 official matches in 2021, with a far from exhilarating tally of nine wins and four defeats.
The round of 16 at Roland Garros and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon were his best results, but Hubert Hurkacz's beating on Center Court did not leave a positive feeling in King Roger's mind. A few weeks later, the 20-time Grand Slam champion underwent another knee surgery, hoping to be more competitive in 2022.
Fans are praying that the 40-year-old from Basel will at least be able to treat himself to a runway worthy of his immense career. During a lengthy interview with Eurosport, former ATP number 3 Nikolay Davydenko said he was skeptical about the Maestro's future.
Davydenko opens up on Federer
"I think it will be hard for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to return with such injuries," Davydenko said. "Of course, the fans are going to beat me up now and say I'm talking nonsense.
But if you feel it as it is, then they will already give way little by little. Maybe they will win something - I'm not saying that they will all lose," he added. "But I don't think they can potentially win a five-set match.
They can play an hour out of three sets, one and a half. And so you can play a tournament, but the main thing is that if something does not work out again, some kind of injury." A contemporary of Roger Federer, Nikolay Davydenko retired from professional tennis in 2014.
"Roger Federer has already done everything, reached such heights," Davydenko said. "He is trying to prove to himself or to someone that he can still win something at the age of 40. But I don’t know what kind of medicines - and medicines are needed for the body to support it and at 40 to be like at 20.
The difference is big, the body is exhausted, he played so much, moved so much," the Russian said. "To do this at 40, you cannot win purely by tennis alone. A couple of years ago I met with him in Shanghai," Davydenko said.
"I asked: 'What is holding your back?' He says: 'Thank God, physics still withstands. The body is trying, if not for the fitness trainer, I would have broken down long ago.' "