A serious right knee injury has significantly limited Roger Federer's appearances on the pitch in the past two years. Suffice it to say that the Swiss star played just 13 official matches in 2021, collecting nine wins and four defeats.
The former world number 1 reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon thanks to a not impossible draw, but he surrendered clearly to Hubert Hurkacz on Center Court. A few weeks later, the 20-time Grand Slam champion announced that he had suffered a knee relapse and had to undergo surgery for the third time in 18 months.
The 40-year-old from Basel hopes to be back in action at the end of the summer or early autumn, but it is still too early to say no. The King could make his return to the Laver Cup, which will be staged at London's O2 Arena in late September.
The hope of all fans is that Federer will be able to retire on his terms. In the latest edition of the US Open Podcast, former ATP No. 4 James Blake chose Roger's forehand as the best ever.
James Blake on Roger Federer
"Forehand I got to go with Roger Federer I think," he said.
"He hits it so unbelievably well, precise and I know you said I could say James Blake or something but I'd be stupid because I remember thinking 'I wanna go forehand to forehand with anyone, I can do that. But Roger was the one guy that kind of showed me 'nah', I can't say me when he did that to me so many times to make me realize his forehand is better than mine." Speaking on the US Open podcast, Blake hailed Nadal's mental toughness and his ability to fight for every point.
"There's so many mentally tough players ... but I just think what he's (Rafael Nadal) done mentally, the way he, I mean you've never seen him once smash a racket on court. You've never seen him get down on himself to the point where it seems like it affects the next point, you don't see him getting onto people's faces," Blake said.
"He's extremely excited, he's pumped up and he's the guy that in the first round of a tournament, in the final of a tournament, looks like he is competing for every single point. Down 40-love in the first game, he might make a great shot and give a fist pump in the first round against a guy he's gonna end up beating 2 and 2." It has been a stupendous start by Spanish players in men’s singles this season.
Rafael Nadal began the year with a bang, lifting his 21st Grand Slam title. The 35-year-old defeated Daniil Medvedev in the summit clash of the Australian Open to overtake Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the race for the most Major titles.