The last two seasons have been particularly difficult for Roger Federer, struggling with a serious right knee injury. The former world number 1 played just 13 official matches in 2021, collecting nine wins and four losses. A few weeks after his defeat to Hurkacz at Wimbledon, the Swiss champion announced that he would have to operate on his knee for the third time in 18 months.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion hopes to return to the pitch at the end of the summer or early autumn, perhaps for the Laver Cup (which will take place at the O2 Arena in London at the end of September). The 40-year-old from Basel took over Rafael Nadal in the all-time rankings of the Majors, while Novak Djokovic snatched the record for weeks at the top of the ATP rankings.
Federer is behind 16-24 in head-to-head against Nadal and 23-27 in head-to-head matches with Djokovic. During a long interview with the Spanish magazine 'Jot Down', Alex Corretja explained how Roger cannot be cut off from the debate on the GOAT.
Corretja opens up on Federer
"When people say Roger Federer has lost against Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal more times and that's why he can't be the best in history, it's absurd to me," Corretja said.
"Because of their [contrasting] style of play, Nadal is obviously going to do a lot of damage to him." Corretja reckons that since Nadal can target Federer's backhand relentlessly with his top-spin forehand, it was only natural for the Swiss to struggle in their encounters.
"The only tactical mole that hurts him is the backhand high ball and the best shot in history is Rafa's high cross forehand to the opponent's backhand," Corretja said. "The best of one is combined with the only weak point of the other.
And the fact that Djokovic beat him is also normal - because he neutralizes his serve like nobody else, because he plays very long, because he doesn't let him take his forehand as he likes," Corretja said. "It's normal that he beat him many times.
What I mean is that they are styles of play, nothing more." It was the 2021 Wimbledon. Roger Federer was up against Hubert Hurkacz who was gradually on the rise. However, given Federer’s record on the grass courts, few gave a chance to the Polish tennis ace.
It turned out to be a memorable encounter for Hurkacz as he overpowered the Swiss maestro in straight sets. The eye-catching thing was the fact that he inflicted a bagel upon Federer in the third set.