The grass season certainly did not start in the best way for Roger Federer, who left the scene in the second round in Halle. It was even since 2001 that the Swiss champion did not leave the German tournament before the quarter-finals.
The defeat at the hands of Felix Auger-Aliassime showed alarming signs less than a week from Wimbledon, which is his great goal of the season together with the Tokyo Olympics. As if that were not enough, the former world number 1 showed up two hours late at the press conference, explaining that he needed to digest the progress of the third set before speaking to the media.
The 39-year-old from Basel will be seeded number 7 at the Championships, which kick off next Monday after last year's cancellation (due to the global pandemic). Many wonder if it will be his last performance of him on Church Road, where he will try to win the ninth trophy of his unrivaled career.
Speaking on Eurosport, Alex Corretja and Mats Wilander said they were concerned about the body language manifested by the Swiss.
Corretja and Wilander on Roger Federer
"I was worried about Roger Federer's body language a little bit," Alex Corretja said.
"He was, I think, inside himself. He’s the only one who knows how he’s feeling, the way he’s moving. Sometimes it’s not about complaining. It’s a matter of you are playing and inside you, you feel ‘this is not how I want to feel’.
And I think Roger feels a little bit that way right now." Corretja believes that if Federer can play his way into the tournament and find his best tennis, he can be competitive. "I’m just worried he doesn’t feel 100 per cent on his knee because it’s normal that his movements are still not the best," Corretja said.
"Well, he needs a very, very good first week to get the rhythm that he needs to become good the second week and to perform well." Seven-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Mats Wilander also weighed in on Federer's form and chances at Wimbledon.
"I actually saw him show it one time against Gustavo Kuerten at Roland-Garros, where he looked not interested to be there and was willing to hit the grass courts," Wilander said. "So, I think that he's most probably felt like that before but for him to actually point the finger at himself - that's alarming."