American tennis player Steve Johnson, 32, admitted he didn't have much of a chance when he faced Roger Federer at Wimbledon, but added it was still a great experience. In 2016, Johnson reached his first round of 16 at Wimbledon.
After winning three matches to advance to the Wimbledon round of 16, Johnson ran into eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer. In his first meeting, Federer got rid of Johnson 6-2, 6-3, 7-5. "I got my ass kicked, it's been a lot of fun.
A bit of a nightmare, but then a dream and then a nightmare, and then a dream. When we finished and I walked past all his trophies, I said to myself: this guy knows what he's doing." Johnson said. Johnson and Federer met twice more, as the Swiss posted wins over the American at the 2017 Indian Wells Masters and 2020 Australian Open, respectively.
Federer, who hasn't played much in the past two years, is aiming to return to action at the Laver Cup in September. Last August, Federer underwent knee surgery. "He knew [the knee operation and recovery] would be a long process, but the operation was necessary, he couldn't have played like that after Wimbledon.
Now I hope to be able to return to the Laver Cup in September," Federer said. When Federer returns from knee surgery, he will have a reduced schedule. "[Whether my family will travel with me again for tennis tournaments] is a problem that I would like to a lot to have."
Aliassime on beating King Roger
Last year at the Halle Open, Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime got the opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing against his childhood hero Roger Federer on grass. "He has won here ten times.
He's a legend of our sport. That was the first time that I got to play him. We had practiced a few times before. But to play him and to feel how well he was still playing and for me to be able to come up with a great performance, that was a really positive win for me and just for my confidence.
It's definitely a moment I remember well," Aliassime said. Talking about adapting to grass, Aliassime stated that it's difficult for young players to win big tournaments like Wimbledon because of the lack of experience on the surface.
"I don't know if players are able to adapt to a surface or the surface adapts to the players. The younger players are not as established and don't have much experience on the surface. We only play three to four tournaments a year.
It's difficult for young players to break through on the big stages on this surface or at Wimbledon, for example. I think it's not easy for us but hopefully, we can gain experience rapidly and challenge the best players to win those tournaments," said Aliassime.