Roger Federer has not played since the Australian Open, where he surrendered in the semifinals against future tournament winner Novak Djokovic. After taking part in his historic performance in Cape Town with his eternal rival Rafael Nadal, the Swiss phenomenon underwent a double operation on his right knee to resolve an injury that had been tormenting him for some time.
As had already happened in 2016, the former world number 1 decided not to force recovery times and to close his season early also due to the Coronavirus emergency. The 20-time Grand Slam champion will try to win another Grand Slam and the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed by twelve months due to the global pandemic.
In a long interview in recent days, former world number 4 Greg Rusedski explained how the 39-year-old from Basel's return to the field could prove more complicated than expected at nearly 40.
Rusedski on Roger Federer
Greg Rusedski pointed out that such serious injuries are tougher to recover from when you're close to 40.
The Brit also mentioned that the rest of the tour may have gotten accustomed to Federer's ultra-aggressive playing style, which is unlikely to reap him the same kind of rewards that it did four years ago. "Roger Federer is a year by year case, especially after having the knee surgeries as well.
You’re not getting the guy in 2017, I’m sorry. Time has passed on," Rusedski stated. "When he won tournaments in 2017, the courts were particularly quick, the balls were quick, and he brought a style that people weren’t expecting.
They’re expecting that style now, so they know what they’re getting. Unfortunately, not like a fine bottle of wine like Margaux when it get to 40 years it goes up in value it, it gets every bit harder, the months you miss away from the game," Rusedski said.
"Six months and 11 months in men’s tennis is a huge difference. Roger Federer can still play great tennis, but to win the Slams is another story. The Olympics is a huge priority for Roger Federer to compete there because that’s the one thing he doesn’t have, a gold medal in the singles, that he’s desperate for,” Rusedski said.
“Both Nadal and Djokovic will both pass Roger Federer if they both stay healthy with the amount of Slams they’ve won," Rusedski said. "Djokovic will have it (the record), but next year is going to define who will have it more or less because you give the French to Rafael Nadal, the opening part of the year is going to be interesting Down Under where Djokovic has dominated and Djokovic should be at 18, but he’s at 17 after what happened at the US Open" - he concluded.