John McEnroe: 'Roger Federer will struggle to reach top level at 39'



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John McEnroe: 'Roger Federer will struggle to reach top level at 39'

The seven-time singles Major champion John McEnroe believes Roger Federer will struggle to regain his old form once he makes a comeback. The Swiss turned 39 in August and McEnroe can't see him fighting for the notable titles again as he did before that knee injury.

The 20-time Major champion had to skip the entire season after the Australian Open, undergoing two knee surgeries and preparing a comeback for January next year. Roger is back on the practice court and will try to bounce back strongly like in 2017, missing the second part of the 2016 season due to knee issues for the most extended career break before this one.

Federer had decided to skip the ATP Cup for Switzerland at the beginning of 2020, taking more time on the practice court ahead of the Australian Open, where he reached the semis after a rollercoaster ride. In the third round, Roger trailed 8-4 in the deciding tie break against John Millman, rattling off six straight points and avoiding an early exit.

Federer struggled with a groin injury in the quarters, facing seven match points against Tennys Sandgren in the fourth set and fending them off for a miracle escape in five sets! Novak Djokovic proved to be too strong in the semis, beating Roger in straight sets in what has been the last official match for the Swiss so far.

While his fans were expecting him in Dubai, Federer announced a knee surgery in February, planning to return in June for the grass-swing in Halle and Wimbledon. The coronavirus pandemic had halted the tennis action in March, offering an excellent chance for the Swiss to continue from the same position as his rivals once the season would start again.

Roger failed to discharge the knee pain, though, having to undergo another surgery in May and deciding to skip the rest of the season and get ready for 2021.

John McEnroe can't see Roger Federer winning big titles once he returns.

"It's hard to imagine Roger Federer coming back close to what he was.

You can't put it past him to make a triumphant return next year because part of it is his love of the game and the way he enjoys being out there so much. I don't know what will happen if he doesn't win as much as he does.

If it were me, I wouldn't be enjoying it as much if I wasn't winning. But, he is still legit world number two, three or four in everyone's minds. So, we'll see how it plays out. Presumably, down in Australia, I guess that's where Roger Federer will probably come back; the courts suit him pretty well.

I'm sure if he doesn't feel like he's capable of making a deep run, he's not going to play; there's no reason to. I would suppose he will be coming back at a high level, but it's just hard to imagine you could be as close to what you were, especially at 39. That would be extremely difficult to do," John McEnroe said.