'It’s harder for Roger Federer now because...', says former ATP ace

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'It’s harder for Roger Federer now because...', says former ATP ace

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both played very little in 2021. The Swiss star played 13 official matches this year, with a subdued tally of nine wins and four losses. At Wimbledon he reached the quarter-finals, also benefiting from a not impossible draw.

When he looked like he could get to the end, he was literally annihilated by Hubert Hurkacz on Center Court. The Pole, author of a splendid 2021, even took away the satisfaction of giving the King a bagel in his favorite tournament.

A few weeks later, the former world number 1 announced that he had to have knee surgery for the third time in the past 18 months. Recently, the 20-time Grand Slam champion announced that his return to the tour should take place in the summer of 2022.

He hasn't fared much better for Rafa, limited to just seven tournaments this season. The Spaniard posted two titles on his beloved clay court, but failed the assault on his 14th Roland Garros. The 35-year-old from Manacor appears to have recovered from his foot injury and will be back in action at the prestigious Abu Dhabi exhibition.

In an interview granted to the 'Express Sport' portal, former ATP number 4 Greg Rusedski analyzed the prospects of Roger and Rafa.

Rusedski opens up on Federer

"You’re talking about the younger generation, they’re here now," Rusedski told the Daily Express.

"I mean, out of the big three it’s really the big one left which is Novak who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere quite yet. It’s harder for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal now because Medvedev, Zverev, Tsitsipas, those guys are starting to believe.

They’ve come very, very close," he said. Rusedski said the fact that Nadal and Federer did not feature in a single Major final this year was an indication of the changing of the guard. "Medvedev finally beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam final, Tsitsipas was two-sets-to-love up in the finals of the French when Novak came to win in five sets, and Berrettini was in the other final (Wimbledon) so we had no Federer, no Nadal, only Djokovic out of the Big Three in the finals of a Major this year which is very unusual and unheard of in the last decade," Rusedski said.

Anyone remotely interested in tennis is sure to know the name of Roger Federer. The 20-time Grand Slam winner from Switzerland remains the hero and is often termed as the ‘GOAT’ by many fans.