The last standings without Roger Federer in the top 20 players in the world are on 16 April. Since then, every single time, the Swiss champion, 20 Grand Slams, 310 weeks at number 1 and an almost unknown number of other records, has always been there.
An infinite constancy, which is almost frightening since it unites two, perhaps even three entire generations of tennis players. It can be said that, in achieving this record, Federer was helped by the current ranking conformation, revised and corrected based on the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The statistics, however, remain, written in the history books of tennis, as evidence of the very high level held by the Swiss all this time, even if in 2020 he only played the Australian Open (and very well, arriving in the semifinals even among many suffering).
A journey into that last ranking without Federer in the top 20 shows what tennis was like then. The Swiss still had to turn 20 at the time and Pete Sampras, at Wimbledon, would only beat him a few months later. "Pistol Pete", who was 29 years old, was then fourth, behind the only one in the thirty year old group present (and he was, in fact, thirty years old): Andre Agassi.
Today there are seven of them over thirty: in addition to Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Gael Monfils, Roberto Bautista Agut, Fabio Fognini and Stan Wawrinka. Top coach Boris Sobkin recently claimed that Roger Federer might find it difficult to rediscover his previous level when he comes back.
Federer hasn't played competitively since January, having undergone two knee surgeries over the course of the year.
Sobkin on Roger Federer's return
The Russian claimed that Roger Federer might find it tough to consistently challenge his main rivals - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - in 2021.
He also suggested that the Swiss may not want to continue playing if his comeback doesn't go as planned. "It is very difficult to predict what will happen to Roger Federer. I wouldn't be surprised if he no longer plays at all.
Or he will start, but he will not succeed, and he may end his career. They began to bury Roger Federer a long time ago, but I would not rush. At the same time, his participation in the Big 3 is already in doubt. He has not played for a year, and even such a genius tennis player as Roger Federer will find it difficult to rise to the previous level," Boris Sobkin said.
"Of course Roger will play, and play well, no doubt about that," Sobkin said. "But the question is about not just performing well, but at the top 3 level. This year we had the "Big 2", and all of the above guys have already reached a high level.
The younger players, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev are really ready to compete with the Big 3 in terms of their level of play," the Russian added.