Roger Federer shocked the tennis ecosphere by announcing his withdrawal from the French Open last Friday. The Grand Slam titan showcased some tantalising tennis at Roland Garros but was forced to withdraw after a exhausting
Federer was due to do battle with Matteo Berrettini, but after a gruelling third-round win over Dominik Koepfer, the Swiss maestro called it a day. Federer made it no secret that he is focusing his efforts on SW19 and after two knee surgeries last year, the veteran clearly needs added time to prepare.
Federer Listens to His Body
Roger Federer is a Grand Slam stalwart but signs of him slowing down are evident after withdrawing from Paris. Arguably the best player to ever grace the game, he expressed his worry over playing too much.
“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery,” Federer, 39, said.
Federer is on the cusp of 40 and still exhibits his desire to succeed. Tennis is an unforgiving game with age, but Federer is proving he is still jostling for ascendancy. After Federer’s late-night scrap with Koepfer on Saturday, it was clear that the Federer of old had disappeared. Father Time had caught up with the Swiss maestro.
Federer is the epitome of tennis and he has been exercising his tennis dominance for nearly a quarter of a century. Even before the tournament, Federer was viewed as a dark horse, a 40/1 outsider in the tennis spread betting markets.
The match, played without paying spectators in a nearly empty stadium, ended Sunday morning at 12:43 a.m., local time. The Grand Slam heavyweight had punched out a brutal shift card against the unseeded, callow German.
Group of Death
Federer, also the oldest player in this year’s men’s singles tournament, was in an unforgiving half of the draw. It included his two main rivals: No. 1 seeded Novak Djokovic and No.3 seeded King of Clay Rafael Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion.
The Swiss could have faced Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals in Paris this week if he had managed to dispatch a venerable Berrettini in the fourth round. If somehow Federer overcame the Serbian No.1 in the quarter-finals, The King of Clay almost certainly awaited him in the semi-finals, which was an unlikely pass to the final. The group could not have been anymore unforgiving for Federer this year.
Looking ahead to Wimbledon
Federer has been more than transparent when it comes to focusing his efforts towards SW19. Federer has won a record eight Wimbledon titles and a plethora of accolades over his glittering career, the Swiss possesses hordes of adoring acolytes and the grass court is where he really thrives.
Roger’s withdrawal from the French Open paves the way for the Swiss legend to cement his Grand Slam legacy at Wimbledon where he hopes to win a ninth title and a phenomenal 21 Grand Slams.
Federer’s withdrawal has received criticism. Many believe that the Swiss used the French Open as a stepping stone towards Wimbledon, which is more than likely.
That’s not how it works,” Paul McNamee, the former Australian Open tournament director, said in a post on Twitter after Federer said soon after his late-night victory that he was considering withdrawal. “You’re not at a candy store, able to pick and choose which matches you play, as your actions affect others, and the tournament.”
A title on the grass of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club would secure the Federer 21 major titles, which would either put him ahead or tie with Rafael Nadal, who is currently seeking his 14th French Open and 21st major title also.
Can Federer prevail in London?
Federer opened his account at Wimbledon in 2003 where he defeated a battle-hardened Mark Phillippoussis to secure his first Grand Slam. The following year Federer captured his first Australian Open, U.S. Open and successfully defended his Wimbledon title.
Federer’s Wimbledon supremacy had begun. The tennis legend won again in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 and in 2017. The London-based Grand Slam seemed made for the tennis star. The 39-year-old has hit a dry spell since 2017 and expresses his desire to secure one last Wimbledon title.
This year is slightly different, Federer is on the wrong side of 30 and has withdrawn from the French Open amid injury concerns. Not to mention the competition in front of him. Roger’s fate will depend on the draw he receives with the hope of reaching the final stages of Wimbledon.
Ahead of his SW19 glory is a myriad of new hungry faces. Notably, Daniil Medvedev is on the hunt for his first Grand Slam, while Stefano Tsitsipas also is ready to sink his teeth into a fabled trophy. Dominic Thiem captured the US Open in 2020 and the Austrian is eyeing a Wimbledon trophy to add to his accolade cabinet.
Even with all these new faces at Wimbledon, Federer still has to find a way to get past the old guard. Novak Djokovic shows no signs of slowing down and Rafael Nadal is hungrier than ever. Federer will have to dig deep to string together a SW19 journey and even deeper to bask in Grand Slam glory again.