The return of Roger Federer to the field early next year is eagerly awaited by almost all tennis fans. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been away from the circuit since February, when he decided to undergo a double surgery on his right knee that kept him stationary for the rest of the season.
During the absence of the former world number 1, Rafael Nadal equaled the record of 20 Grand Slam titles of his eternal rival by winning Roland Garros for the 13th time, while Novak Djokovic has a very good chance of becoming the player with the most weeks spent in top of the ATP ranking.
Under the circumstances, the Basel veteran will be under enormous pressure to see if he can still be competitive at nearly 40. Many fans are hoping Federer can achieve another exploit like the one in 2017, when he was able to clinch the Australian Open and Wimbledon after missing half the previous season.
However, Roger's knee injury in 2020 was more serious than it was four years ago. The eight-time Wimbledon champion has already stated that his big goals will be Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed by twelve months due to the Coronavirus emergency.
German writer Simon Graf, who recently wrote a biography of Roger Federer, does not seem very optimistic about the future of the Swiss.
Graf on Roger Federer's return
"This is Roger Federer's most difficult mission," Simon Graf was reported as saying.
"You're used to Roger Federer's miracles and fondly remember 2017. But this time, getting back to work will be far more complicated." The German writer also added that while Federer has upped the intensity of his training regime, there is a lot of work left to do before he can start competing for Slams or even titles.
"Federer recently increased the intensity - now he's testing his body more," Graf reportedly added. "But until the form that would allow him to be competitive in Grand Slam tournaments, even to play for the title, there is still a lot to be done."
The Australian Open was the only event that Federer played this calendar but it didn’t end well for him as he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal. As he missed the bulk of the action this season through an injury, Federer dropped down the rankings and ended the season at Number 5.
However, the new season will provide an opportunity for the ‘Swiss Master’ to gain on his rivals in the rankings and add to his titles. With the Australian Open delayed next year, Federer will have more time to work on his fitness and return for the year’s first Major.