Fascinated by his impeccable technique, we often forget how much the physique helped Roger Federer stay competitive until he was almost 40 years old. Before the double operation on his right knee, which kept him stationary for most of 2020, the Swiss phenomenon had not had to deal with serious injuries during his career.
The former world number 1 played only one official tournament last year, deciding not to force recovery times also due to the delicate situation linked to the pandemic. The 20-time Grand Slam champion also announced that he will not participate in the Australian Open, thus completing a full year without setting foot on the pitch.
According to the latest rumors and the words of his manager Tony Godsick, the 39-year-old from Basel could return to Rotterdam or Dubai in March. In a recent interview with L’Equipe, former French hurdler Stéphane Caristan - European champion in the 110 meters hurdles in Stuttgart in 1986 - expressed all his admiration for the Swiss legend.
The transalpine believes Federer has such skill in footwork that he can successfully challenge himself in the obstacle course. Caristan, who represented France at the Olympics in 1984, 1988 and 1992, also boasts a gold medal in the 60m hurdles at the World Indoor Games in 1985.
Caristan on Roger Federer
“Roger Federer's an excellent technician," Stéphane Caristan said. "It is not because he is my favorite athlete, but I will have put him on 110 meters hurdles. I think of the Big 3, he would have been the most technically skilled.
He has the profile of the new 110m runners who amazed me, that is to say not necessarily very stretched in legs but technically sharp enough to compensate”. Caristan reckons that Novak Djokovic would have also fared well in the event, given the Serb's supreme flexibility.
According to the Frenchman, Djokovic is physically similar to Federer but is ahead of the Swiss when it comes to stamina. “He is very flexible, quite fine, he could also have expressed himself in the 110m hurdles. It's a bit like the Federer profile, but maybe more enduring," Caristan added.
Over the years, Roger Federer has accumulated several records. As tennis has moved forward, these records have been bettered and broken. However, during his dominant period between 2004 to 2009, Federer set a record that no one could ever touch in the future.
Federer won five consecutive titles at two Grand Slams, a record that seems to be unparalleled and tough to conquer. He won five Wimbledon titles from 2003 to 2007 and won the US Open five times too, from 2004 to 2008.