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If Australian Open court is quick don’t bet against Roger Federer, say Paul Annacone & Andy Roddick

Roger Federer with his 2018 Australian Open title
Roger Federer with his 2018 Australian Open title
Modified 22 Nov 2020, 21:10 IST

Andy Roddick, Paul Annacone and Jim Courier recently came together to assess Roger Federer’s chances ahead of the Swiss legend’s much-anticipated return in 2021. The American trio spoke at length about both Roger Federer and Serena Williams while appearing on a talk show for Tennis Channel.

The event being discussed was the Australian Open, which would be Federer’s first Grand Slam in almost a year. The World No. 5 would want to play a warm-up event or two before the tournament, but it remains to be seen how much tennis would be possible in Australia given the quarantine requirements.

Andy Roddick - one of Roger Federer’s greatest rivals - was quick to point out that the Swiss’ performance at the Australian Open would depend greatly on the speed of the courts in Melbourne. The three-time Wimbledon runner-up opined that Federer’s aggressive and proactive game would benefit if the courts were quick.

“He (Roger Federer), wants the court to be very fast when he arrives in Australia,” Roddick explained. “That makes his gameplay a lot easier. Makes the rallies much, much shorter, he doesn’t have to get into these long extended rallies.”
Roger Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles
Roger Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles

Roddick expressed hope that Federer will be able to get back to his best, but added a word of caution about how knee surgeries are tough to come back from.

“I’d like to see him, and I think the tennis world would like to see him or at least a shadow of the Federer that we know," Roddick said. "But we will see, I’m assuming knee surgeries don’t get any easier to come back from when you are 39 years old.”

Roger Federer’s former coach Paul Annacone agreed with Roddick, and stressed that it would be important for the six-time Australian Open champion to manage his workload efficiently during the fortnight.

“That’s the big key, when you’re 39 years of age, how quickly and how well you recover. With Roger, we have seen that before, the thing that becomes more challenging is not to play great but to stay great. Can he stay great for seven matches over two weeks at a Major?" he said.

Annacone, however, seemed a bit more optimistic about Roger Federer’s chances and stated that he wouldn’t count the Swiss out if he was healthy and serving well.

“If he is healthy and hits the spots on his serve, and that court is quick like Andy talks about, don’t bet against him,” Annacone added.

If Roger Federer still has a lively right arm, he’s still going to be awfully tough to beat: Jim Courier

Jim Courier believes that Roger Federer
Jim Courier believes that Roger Federer's serve will be crucial

Two-time Australian Open champion Jim Courier then weighed in with his thoughts on Federer’s impending return. Courier believes that if Federer and Serena Williams can find their first serve in the big moments, they would be tough to get past.

“If Roger and Serena can have the good serve percentage and they still have a lively right arm, they’re still gonna be awfully tough to beat,” Courier remarked.

Courier asserted that he would be surprised if Federer didn’t make the last four of a Major next year, assuming he is fully fit.

“I would be frankly surprised if Federer doesn’t make a semi next season, again if he is healthy,” Courier said.
Published 22 Nov 2020, 19:49 IST
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