Roger Federer disappointed fans all over the world when he announced that would miss the rest of the 2020 season due to injury.
Federer, whose last outing was a semifinal defeat to Novak Djokovic at Australian Open 2020, had already decided to take time off till Wimbledon for surgery on his right knee. But after a failed rehabilitation period, he had to take the whole season off even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World No. 4's omission from the 2020 season invariably led to speculation about his retirement as well as the larger debate of who will end up as the the Greatest of All Time (GOAT). The three great men's tennis players of the current generation - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - are all fighting for that title, and Federer's injury may have eased the path for the other two.
The 'Big 3' have dominated men's tennis for almost two decades now, and have collected a grand total of 56 Grand Slam titles between them. Federer leads the pack with 20, followed by Nadal who has 19 and Djokovic at 17.
Many experts believe the time may be up for the Swiss maestro; with Djokovic in top form and Nadal not far away, it is looking increasingly tougher for Federer to win another Slam. But the devotion for the Swiss ace lives on, and millions continue to root for him to win more even in his 40th year.
One such fanatic is French sports expert Pierre Menes, who in a program with Le GQ, revealed his love for the World No. 4.
I cried during Roger Federer's Wimbledon defeat to Djokovic: Pierre Menes
Speaking about his love for sport and tennis, Menes heaped admiration on Roger Federer and asserted that the Swiss is unarguably the greatest tennis player he has ever seen.
"I am a midinette with Roger Federer. I could kiss his hand, especially the right hand, the one with the genius," said the Frenchman. "The last final he lost to Novak Djokovic in three tie-breaks at Wimbledon having had two match points, I was at home alone in my living room and I was dismal. I cried. I spat. I threw up."
The Frenchman further wen on to talk about how the world is lucky to have watched Roger Federer for so long and how he personally will continue supporting the Swiss maestro as long he is active on the tour.
"Now he's going to come back in 2021 at 39 and a half, so since he's 34 I watch all of his matches as if it were the last. And I'm very lucky because 5 years later, he's still there," said Menes.
Roger Federer has defied the odds and come back in glorious fashion before. At the age of 36, he battled injury and returned to the court like a man renewed, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon before reclaiming the No. 1 ranking a year later. His fans - especially Pierre Menes - would be hoping that something similar happens in 2021.Published 30 Jun 2020, 23:38 IST