Will Roger Federer be able to return to the top of world tennis at the age of 40? This is the question that hovers around the future of the Swiss, whose last official match dates back to the semifinal of the Australian Open 2020.
The Basel phenomenon, who has undergone two operations on his right knee, has already put Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics, events canceled this year due to the Coronavirus emergency. Many are hoping that the 39-year-old Swiss can repeat the feat of 2017, when he managed to win the Australian Open despite missing the entire second half of 2016 due to an injury.
In recent months, the former world number 1 has been joined by eternal rival Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam titles, after the Spaniard posted his umpteenth Roland Garros in mid-October. Thanks to the new pandemic-induced ranking system, Novak Djokovic has a very good chance of breaking Federer's record by weeks at the top of the ATP rankings.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion may still aim for Jimmy Connors' all-time title record, but Roger has repeatedly reiterated that he does not want to add more tournaments to his calendar. In a recent interview on the Tennis Channel, two-time Australian Open champion Jim Courier expressed his opinion on Federer's imminent return.
Courier on Roger Federer
Jim Courier believes that if Roger Federer and Serena Williams can find their first serve in the big moments, they would be tough to get past. “If Roger and Serena can have the good serve percentage and they still have a lively right arm, they’re still gonna be awfully tough to beat,” Courier remarked.
Courier asserted that he would be surprised if Federer didn’t make the last four of a Major next year, assuming he is fully fit. “I would be frankly surprised if Federer doesn’t make a semi next season, again if he is healthy,” Courier said.
Roger Federer has played some sublime tennis at the Australian Open in the past. Nonetheless, it will be a massive task to reach the last four when the tournament kickstarts in 2021. Fans are eager to watch him return to action and there would be no greater satisfaction if he ends up winning the Grand Slam.
At 39, Federer, as many believe, is in the final lap of his career. With age, injuries have also piled up for the Swiss ace. Though he has resumed training after surgery on a troublesome knee, he hasn’t made himself available for the Australian Open next year.
Just a year younger than Nadal, Djokovic is also tipped to play for a few more years during which he can close the gap on the other two. The Serb picked up his 17th Major title at the Australian Open this year. However, his bid for the 18th at the US Open ended in despair. He was disqualified in the fourth round for accidentally hitting a line judge.