Roger Federer said on Monday morning (AEST) he will undergo further knee surgery and admitted he “will be out for many months”, a decision which casts more doubt on his future in the sport at the age of 40.
“I will be on crutches for many weeks and out of the game for many months,” 20-time Grand Slam title winner Federer said in a video posted on his Instagram account.
The decision immediately rules him out of the US Open, where he has been champion five times and which starts in two weeks.
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“I’ve been doing a lot of checks with the doctors on my knee … I hurt myself further during the grass-court season and it’s just not the way to go forward,” Federer added.
“They told me … to feel better I’ll need surgery. I decided to do it.
“I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form.
“I am realistic, don’t get me wrong. I know how difficult it is at my age to go through another surgery. I will try it. I want to be healthy, I want to be running around.”
Federer, who has played just 13 matches in 2021, underwent two knee surgeries in 2020 when he played only six times. He had already pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics to rest his knee.
Federer withdrew from this year’s French Open after reaching the fourth round and was knocked out in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, a tame 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 loss to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.
Federer lost a set 6-0 on his way home from Wimbledon.Source:Getty Images
That defeat was only his 14th at the All England Club in 119 matches, and the first time he had been beaten in the tournament in straight sets since a first-round exit at the hands of Mario Ancic in 2002. It was also the first time he had lost a set 6-0 at Wimbledon and just the third time at a Slam.
After turning 40 last weekend, Federer said he was learning to adjust to the fact that recovering from niggles takes two weeks rather than two days.
“It was different before. The questions were simple: what is my place in the ranking? What will my next tournament be?” he told Blick newspaper.
“Today, it’s more difficult: how do I feel when I start training again? What are my goals? How to reconcile all this with the family? What does the rest of the team say?
“I am much more enthusiastic than before, the attitude is different. It’s really completely different from 10 years ago.”
‘Deeply sad’: Tennis world reacts to Federer’s announcement
Federer’s string of knee problems has the tennis world wondering just how much the veteran has left to give.
Sports Illustrated tennis reporter Jon Wertheim tweeted: “We know time moves only in one direction. We all know Father Time’s record in head-to-head … still, there’s there’s something deeply sad about watching an elite athlete lose agency like this.”
Journalist Carole Bouchard wrote: “How many surgeries will it now be on this knee? 4? Because he had two new ones this year, right? That’s a whole lot to try to fix a knee.
“The words “glimmer of hope” are surely what resonate the most in this Federer announcement … Really hope he can come back one more/last time because finishing on that Wimbledon match would feel too rough.”
BBC commentator David Law added: “May well be that that’s it for Roger Federer. He can and should take as long as he wants to seek a solution, and decide. But at this stage, mainly hope he can get his knee back to a state in which he can enjoy life, and perhaps a farewell exhibition tour. He’s done it all.”
Former tennis star Mardy Fish said: “Going out on your terms is something every athlete wants. Happens less than you’d think. Speedy recovery my friend.”
Will we ever see him at a grand slam again?Source:AFP
Federer’s legacy is one of a kind
Federer captured his most recent major at the 2018 Australian Open. He was already well past 36 and the second oldest man to clinch a Slam title. Since then, Novak Djokovic has claimed eight more majors and old rival Rafael Nadal has picked up four.
Both now stand level on 20 Slams with Federer.
Should Federer be preparing to bow out after 23 years on tour, he will leave behind a career decorated by 103 titles — only Jimmy Connors with 109 has more — a combined 310 weeks as world No. 1 and more than $175 million in prize money alone.
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