Roger Federer has announced that he has had a surgery on his right knee, due to which he'll be missing the tournaments in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and the French Open. This means we'll be seeing Federer next in action only during the grass season, which is months away from now.
This was the statement Federer posted on Instagram:
"My right knee has been bothering me for a little while. I hoped it would go away, but after an examination, and discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland yesterday. After the procedure, the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery. As a result, I will unfortunately have to miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogota, Miami and the French Open. I am grateful for everyone's support. I can't wait to be back playing again soon, see you on the grass!"
This is just the second major surgery Federer has had to undergo, the first being the one on his left knee after the Australian Open in 2016. That procedure saw him miss the entire second half of the year; he skipped all the tournaments after Wimbledon.
Now there are two ways to see how this could affect Federer's career in the future.
Considering his age, a lot of people would assume that this is going to be the end of Federer. A knee surgery at the age of 38? Surely that's going to be impossible for even the GOAT to recover from; surely he won't be able to play at the level he has been playing for the last few years when he returns.
But then another way to predict the future can be by looking at what happened three years ago. When Federer returned in 2017 after rehabbing his left knee, it was a Federer almost nobody expected to see. He was faster and more aggressive, with a newfound deadliness on his backhand side.
Federer went on to win his first Grand Slam in nearly five years at the Australian Open. He went through two five-setters en route to the final, defeating Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori, showing no signs of his age. He then met his great nemesis Rafa Nadal in the summit clash, and he won that match in five scintillating sets too - coming back from 1-3 down in the fifth set.
He didn't look back after that, and won his eighth Wimbledon title that year. He then won the Australian Open again the following year to become the first man to win an astounding 20 Grand Slam titles.
Federer has said that he'll be returning straight in the grass season. With no tournaments to play before June, he'll be fresh and energized going into his favorite part of the year. Everyone knows that grass is where Federer is most comfortable playing, and this time off could well be a blessing in disguise for him.
For all we know, Federer could well be the favorite to win his ninth title at SW19. He lost last year's championship match after squandering two match points, and he'll be hungry for some retribution. And if he is well-rested leading into the grasscourt season, then the rest of the field better watch out.
Nobody can say with precision what the future holds for Federer after his surgery. But whatever happens, here's wishing the champion a speedy recovery - with the hope of seeing him back on the court soon, playing as aggressively as ever.Published 20 Feb 2020, 17:23 IST