Two years ago, Roger Federer was still among the world's best players, securing the Masters 1000 trophy in Miami and wasting two match points in a memorable Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic. Roger experienced a massive knee injury at the beginning of 2020, reaching the Australian Open semi-final but skipping the rest of the season after undergoing surgeries in February and May.
With only six matches in his legs within 13 months, Roger returned to the court in March this year and reached the quarter-final after beating Daniel Evans in three tight sets. The Swiss squandered a match point versus Nikoloz Basilashvili, and he did not play for the next two months after taking another break.
Stepping on the clay court in Geneva and Paris, Roger advanced into the fourth round at Roland Garros before withdrawing ahead of the fourth-round clash to preserve his knee for the grass swing. Following the earliest exit in Halle to Felix Auger-Aliassime, Federer threw everything at his beloved Wimbledon and advanced into the quarter-final as the oldest player in the Open era.
In a battle for the semis, Hubert Hurkacz proved too strong for the veteran and beat him 6-3, 7-6, 6-0 to deliver Roger's first bagel since the 2008 Roland Garros final! Defeat aside, Federer still felt the pain in his knee, struggling with movement and playing miles below his best.
Mats Wilander wants to see Roger Federer against Zverev and Medvedev.
The Swiss underwent a third surgery within 18 months a couple of weeks later, finishing the season and starting another extended recovery process. Roger should begin with light preparations in January and step on the practice court in March or April, hoping for steady improvements and first official matches at some point after Wimbledon.
The seven-time Major winner Mats Wilander believes that Roger can make a comeback. However, it will not be easy for him to chase notable titles against Novak Djokovic and the younger rivals. Wilander would love to see Federer against Alexander Zverev or Daniil Medvedev, calling those tests a reality check for the 20-time Major winner.
"I think Roger can come back; he has his mind set on that. The bigger problem is that these guys are getting really good. Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev are the guys pushing behind. Federer has his serve to help him out, but we should see it against Zverev's initial shot; that will be a reality check.
I do not think that Federer will play too many matches when he returns. He realizes that he still has a chance to pass three or four rivals at Majors. I think it's worth it for him to come back in his own mind, and he will know more if he faces Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev in a couple of matches," Mats Wilander said.