Absent on the Tour for a year now, 39-year-old Roger Federer took part as the last official event at the Australian Open 2020, where he overtook (in some cases even with extreme difficulty) Steve Johnson, Filip Krajinovic, John Millman, Marton Fucsovics and Tennys Sandgren, before being defeated in the semifinals by Novak Djokovic in three sets.
In Melbourne, Federer has won six times: in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017 and in 2018. he He reached the final also in 2009, but suffered a painful defeat at the hands of the Spanish Rafael Nadal. His last tournament won on the circuit was that of Basel in 2019, victorious in the final over the young Alex De Minaur with a score of 6-2 6-2.
In the past few hours, the former Swiss world number one has posted a funny video on social media in which he expresses - strictly in Mandarin - his best wishes to the Chinese people, on the occasion of the New Year celebrations that are celebrated today, Friday 12 February.
Roger has traveled to the Asian country many times, winning the Shanghai Rolex Masters on two occasions (in 2014 and 2017). Absent in practice for the whole of 2020, Federer will return to the field barring unforeseen events next March, when he will participate in the Qatar Open in Doha, where he has already triumphed three times.
In 2019 he also returned to play at the Internazionali d'Italia after three years away, reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 2015. Today the Coronavirus pandemic has caused over 2 million deaths around the world, infecting more than 100 million people.
Sania Mirza, who has herself won six Grand Slams in her career, refused to buy into the numbers game during the interview. In addition to Roger Federer, Mirza also cited 23-time Major champion Serena Williams, who is chasing Margaret Court's record tally in Melbourne this year, as an example to further her argument.
Mirza comments on Roger Federer
"I mean, I don't think so," Sania Mirza replied when asked whether number of Slams is the sole factor in the GOAT debate. "Then Serena Williams wouldn't be the greatest women's player today, and Roger Federer wouldn't be, because Roger has the numbers to back him but does one Slam really change whether you're the greatest or not."
At the end of the segment, Mirza claimed that Serena Williams and Roger Federer would still enjoy their status as the 'greatest ever' based on their talent alone, regardless of whether they held the record for most Grand Slams won or not.
"Hands down, Serena is the greatest woman to play the sport. Whether she reaches the number or not is irrelevent, I mean it's just the way she plays she is the greatest ever. And just the way Roger plays," Mirza said.