2021 did not give Roger Federer any particular satisfaction. The former world number 1 played a pittance of 13 competitive matches last year, racking up nine wins and four losses. The round of 16 at Roland Garros and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon were his best seasonal results, a far too meager booty for a legend of his caliber.
A few weeks after the Championships, the Swiss phenomenon announced that he had suffered a knee relapse and had to operate for the third time in the last 18 months. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has returned to training in the gym, but his return to the tour will not happen before the summer.
His presence at Wimbledon is in strong doubt, as Roger himself admitted a few weeks ago. Host of the 'Court-Side with Beilinson Tennis' podcast, Paul Annacone spoke extensively about the 40-year-old from Basel. Annacone worked with Federer from 2010 to 2013, helping him win the ATP Finals (2010-2011) and bringing him back to win Wimbledon in 2012.
Annacone talks about Federer
"Roger Federer was amazing from the beginning," Paul Annacone said. "The first day we walked on the court in Zurich, he was hitting balls and after 10 minutes he said "Okay, what do you wanna do?" and I was like "It's that simple, I just tell you what to do and you do it? He goes "Well, maybe not that simple because if it's something I don't believe in then I'm going to ask you why.
I'm going to ask you why; when I was a kid they used to call me the 'why-man' because I always wanted to know why we were doing stuff. But if it makes sense, yeah, we'll do it." Continuing in the same breath, Annacone explained how Federer is pragmatic and never rushes into decisions and judgements.
"He is so good at taking a step back and a breath and evaluating and not having a rush to judgement," Annacone added. "He lets things digest and he lets things simmer so he can figure them out pragmatically. He is one of the best people - Pete was awesome at that too but in a very different way.
Roger, when I started to understand all these little nuances, I knew he'd loved tennis, I couldn't believe how much he still loved tennis," Annacone added. "I still to this day, don't understand how he loves to practice like he does.
The guy loves the game, he's so happy practicing. There were times when we were in Dubai, and it's 125 degrees and the guy's laughing and having a good time, through three different shirts, two different practice partners. Pierre Paganini's on court making him do jumps over benches and throwing medicine ball, picking up his racket and he's just loving it and having a good time."