Roger Federer has taken the world of tennis by a storm. The Swiss maestro has now pulled out of the all tournaments till the grass court season. Fed Express announced on his Instagram page that he has undergone a surgery on his right knee. This means that tennis fans won’t see the great Swiss on the court till the grass court season which begins after the French Open.
In this article we analyse how this absence affects Roger in the closing stages of his illustrious career. We will also examine whether or not will an almost 39 year old Federer be among the Grand Slam favorites anymore.
A Ranking Drop Outside Top 8?
Federer currently sits on World Number 3 in the ATP singles ranking. He is just 90 points ahead of the Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem. The Austrian is currently participating in the Rio Open and will most certainly overtake Federer in the next week. This seems imminent with Thiem looking in the form of his life and not much formidable competition for him there as he enters the tournament as the top seed. Federer himself had 500 points to defend in the Dubai Open and with the pull-out, he has very much made the road clear for Dominic Thiem to replace him at World Number 3, when the new rankings are announced.
The story however doesn’t end there. Fed Express had a great fortnight at the Sunshine double in 2019. He reached the final at Indian Wells and won the Miami Open. This means that the absence in 2020 from both these tournaments will cost 1600 more points. In the clay season Fed Express earned more than 1000 ATP points as he made to the semis at Roland Garros and quarter finals in Madrid and Rome last year. In total Fed Express loses around 3200 points if he registers a comeback at Halle.
This means the 3 more players Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sascha Zverev have a great chance to overtake Federer in the ATP rankings. It will be another great challenge for the 20 time Grand Slam winner to defend his title in Halle and 1200 ranking points at Wimbledon, once he registers a comeback. A spot in the top 8 rankings could easily evade Federer and maybe he would be out of the top 10 by the last quarter of 2020.
The Farewell Looms Near?
Roger Federer has exceeded expectations in terms of longevity both in age as well as performance. The Swiss is the oldest World Number 1 in Men’s tennis in the Open Era. He is also one of the oldest male players to win a Grand Slam. However, the Swiss great has not been able to taste Grand Slam success since the 2018 Australian Open. The last time he had to wait so much for a major was during the 4 year barren run of 2013-2016. This time Fed Express neither has the age nor the time to wait so much for lifting more slam trophies.
When Fed Express comes back to the tour after the clay court swing, a lot could have changed in tennis. His great rival Rafael Nadal might well have tied him for the most Grand Slam singles record. Another long time rival Novak Djokovic could also have reached further within the grasp of Federer’s weeks at World Number 1. Yet Roger will have a plenty to play for on the comeback.
Wimbledon has been Federer’s choicest tournament. Last year, a combination of bad luck and nervous serving cost him the 9th trophy at SW19. Federer won the 2016 Australian Open after coming back from a break and undergoing left knee surgery. This time he would want history to repeat after undergoing the procedure in his right knee. What better a place for the Swiss than his beloved grass of Wimbledon?
The Olympic Glory
Roger Federer has won almost everything that a tennis player could dream of. Yet, if the Swiss would want to add to his amazing collection of trophies and titles, a singles Olympic Gold Medal would be his first wish. Fed Express has won the doubles Gold Medal in Olympics in 2008 Beijing Olympics. He came close to win the 2012 singles Gold medal in London, only to be denied by the home hero Andy Murray.
In 2020, the Swiss would undoubtedly be playing his last Olympics competition. With Olympics being played in best of 3 sets except the final Roger knows that stamina may not be an issue there. The 2020 Olympics are to be played after Wimbledon so Fed Express would have his match practice already done. The competition is to be held on the hard courts of Tokyo. The fast courts again benefit Federer’s attacking and aggressive game style.
Many tennis experts have suggested that 2020 could see Fed Express bid a farewell in tennis. There would be no better stage than a Grand Slam success or an Olympic ceremony to bid adieu to the game that has made Roger Federer a legend. For now we wish the most popular tennis player in the world a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on court at the grass of Wimbledon.