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: "Here's what surprised me about Roger Federer"
Paul Annacone said: "Roger Federer was exceptional from the start. Since our first meeting, he has shown that he wants to improve by listening to my advice.
He told me that when he was younger they called him the man of the why, since he always wanted to know the why of the things he did. If I could convince him of something with valid arguments, he would do it. I couldn't believe how receptive he was to ideas, philosophies, even things he didn't like very much.
This aspect makes it truly unique. I had never been close to any legend that he was so willing to listen to. As I began to understand all these little nuances, I adjusted accordingly. His love for tennis is something that still amazes me today.
He loves to train and I don't understand how he does at his age. Despite training in Dubai in excruciating heat, Roger was delighted to be there and to play tennis. Pierre Paganini was very important for Federer."