Roger Federer's 2021 was unfortunately affected by the usual knee problem. The Swiss champion returned to the field after more than a year of absence from the ATP 250 tournament in Doha, but was never able to compete at a high level due to physical discomfort.
In fact, the Swiss forfeited the fourth round of Roland Garros in order not to risk a new injury and then suffered a clear defeat against Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon showing all his difficulties. Federer also renounced the Tokyo Olympics to preserve his physique for the American season, but just a few days before the start of the US Open he announced that he would undergo another surgery; intervention that closed its season prematurely.
Matteo Berrettini, who decided not to participate in the Paris-Bercy Masters 1000 due to a neck problem, had the opportunity to face Federer twice in his career: the first at Wimbledon 2019, the second at the ATP Finals. On the lawns of the All England Club, in particular, the blue showed all his emotion and was unable to manage the tension.
The Swiss ended the match with a clear 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. Berrettini recalled the match lost against Federer at Wimbledon in a recent interview. "I grew up watching Roger Federer and always cheering for him. I supported him a lot and watched him on TV every time he played, then I realized that I could play his own tournament and obviously I couldn't cheer for him anymore.
I have told Roger this story many times and we are on very good terms. When he beat me at Wimbledon he literally destroyed me but I didn't even believe how it was possible to be on the pitch with my idol and one of the most iconic athletes ever."
Paul Annacone on Roger Federer
Part of the Roger Federer camp from 2010-13, Annacone was instrumental in the Swiss' return to World No. 1 in 2012. With Sampras, the American served a greater tenure - from 1994 to 2001 and then again from 2002 until his retirement.
Annacone was the coach under whom Sampras had his greatest accomplishments. "In terms of preparation, they're pretty similar. They both worked the hardest in the pre-season. And luckily for them, because they win so much during the year, they are playing so many matches.
A lot of their fitness and their training gets done because they win so much," Annacone said. According to Annacone, Federer enjoyed his practice sessions more than Sampras. "I think Roger probably enjoyed the process a little more than Pete.
Roger's kind of a goofy kid at heart. You know, he's always (making) practical jokes. But he works really hard, got a good team around him," Annacone said.