All roads lead to Wimbledon for Federer

LONDON: For Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2021 will not only be the last Grand Slam he will play before celebrating the “big four-oh” but also a chance to put behind him the memory of his grief of 2019 during the major on grass.

The Swiss have won the Golden Challenge Cup eight times. But just as memorable, he lost a chance to win a ninth title in 2019 when he surprisingly failed to convert two league points against Novak Djokovic.

That near-accident prevented him from winning a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, and since then a combination of injuries and the Covid-19 pandemic have conspired to curtail his action on the pitch.

When Wimbledon’s favorite son steps out onto the manicured lawns next week, he will be hopeful his surgically repaired knees can withstand the rigors of a seven-game best-of-five-set victory.

Even he doesn’t know exactly how Federer, who turns 40 in August, will be able to cope with such demands on his body, because since that fifth-set tie-break loss to Djokovic in July 2019, he has only played 34 games, including only eight since February 2020.

Before injuries began to disrupt his career from 2016, Federer regularly played more than 70 games a year.

“It’s a huge challenge for me. Anyone who’s had multiple surgeries or a difficult operation knows what I’m talking about, ”said Federer, who had left knee surgery in 2016 on a meniscus tear before going under the knife twice in 2020 on his right knee.

“Things don’t come easy. You doubt yourself … and sometimes that’s the biggest worry: worrying about pain or worrying about how you’re going to feel the next day or when you wake up.

“All that stuff, sometimes it takes you a little while.”

His lack of match-ability will be put to the test not only by the Djokovics of this world – who will be eager to crush anyone who tries to prevent him from joining Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 majors – but also by a army of young people and fitter players.

Youngsters aged 20 and over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are no longer afraid of facing Federer and have beaten the great Swiss on several occasions.

Federer has made no secret that at this point in his career everything he does or doesn’t do on a tennis court is done for the sole purpose of making sure he is in the best possible shape for win another title at Wimbledon.

With that in mind, he left Roland Garros after winning his third round match. It was a move that annoyed many critics who felt that if anyone else had stepped back to protect his body, he would have been crucified for using another Grand Slam tournament as a dress rehearsal.

Others rushed to defend the world number. 8th.

“Roger has earned the right to do whatever he wants in tennis right now,” said great American Chris Evert.

“Wimbledon is his dream, it’s the golden tournament for him. He should be excused for any withdrawal he has. “

member ESPN Analyst John McEnroe said the biggest concern was, “He played a four-hour game, won it, then fell short. It’s hard to say how he felt the next day, if he could have continued? “

Fast forward a few days and a second round defeat on turf at Halle, the first outing Federer suffered in 18 appearances in the Wimbledon warm-up he won 10 times, was yet another setback caused by what the Swiss have described it as a “negative attitude”.

However, with his clear aim to equal Martina Navratilova’s overall record of nine Wimbledon titles, as Eurosport expert Mats Wilander said: “He will be as excited as the Rolling Stones playing at Wembley.” – Reuters

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