Roger Federer has been through tough times over the past two seasons. The serious right knee problem prevented him from taking the field as much as he would have liked, fueling the specter of his imminent retirement from tennis.
The Swiss champion played the misery of 13 official matches in 2021, with a far from exhilarating tally of nine wins and four defeats. The quarterfinals reached at Wimbledon did not serve to redeem a year well below expectations, in which the King proved to be far from an acceptable condition.
A few weeks after the Championships, the former world number 1 announced that he had suffered a knee relapse and had to undergo surgery for the third time in the last 18 months. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has just returned to the gym, but his return to the tour is expected in the summer of 2022.
The presence of the 40-year-old from Basel at Wimbledon is in strong doubt, as Roger himself admitted some time ago. In the latest episode of 'ATP Tennis Radio Podcast', Mark Petchey - well-known commentator and former Andy Murray coach - analyzed the importance of training for Federer.
Petchey opens up on Federer
"Watching Roger Federer train on a daily basis and looking at the hard work Federer puts in, there's not one minute of practice that was light-hearted," Petchey said. "I looked at that and thought, 'that's why you have lasted as long as you have, and that's why you are as great as you are'"
Mark Petchey also claimed that players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are ahead of their contemporaries because of their innate talent. "For me, personally, talent is the first and foremost.
The hard work, the mental toughness, the strategy - all of those things can be learnt. But you can't learn talent," Petchey said. "Part of their greatness is the talent, but their dominance and longevity has come from everything else they've had - the desire and the hard work."
During the podcast Mark Petchey also showered praise on his former ward Andy Murray. "Andy Murray wants to dot every i and cross every t," Petchey said. "Whether it is practice, whether it is training, whether it is anything it is competitive and it has to be done at 100% of the best of everyone's ability.
What he showed me is that there are no shortcuts to ultimate success," Petchey said. "It is just a volume of hard work and smart work."