As the world continues to desperately wait for the resumption of full-fledged sport, tennis fans have been dealt a huge blow. Roger Federer has announced that he won't be returning to the court this year, while expressing hope of coming back at the start of the 2021 season.
The Swiss said on his social media account that a setback during his post-surgery rehabilitation is what has postponed his comeback. The 20-time-Grand Slam champion was required to have an additional arthroscopic procedure done on his troublesome right knee, which will now necessitate a longer recovery period.
Less than two months away from his 39th birthday, Roger Federer understandably didn't want to take any risk with his body - especially when there is so much uncertainty surrounding the rest of the tennis season. Federer added in the message that he will take as much time as required to get fully fit, which is now his top priority.
Roger Federer had been out of action since February
Although Roger Federer had a decent start to the year, reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open, his knee started troubling him soon after the tournament. In February, even before the coronavirus outbreak became a worldwide challenge, the World No. 4 had announced that he would be undergoing an arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
At that time, Federer was looking to take the next four months off and miss the tournaments in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and the French Open as well as his rescheduled exhibition match in Bogota with Alexander Zverev. He was targeting a return to the tour at the start of the grasscourt leg, just before Wimbledon.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading its tentacles and lock-down being imposed all over the world, the tennis tour got suspended until 31 July. The Wimbledon Championships got cancelled for the first time since the World War II, and the French Open was postponed to the end of September.
Despite the cloud of doubt over the rest of the Majors, most fans had been hoping to see the top stars back in action after such a long lull. But now with Federer's announcement, the wait might go on a little longer.
Although being deprived of the chance to see the Swiss maestro weave his magic on the court might be disappointing to most, fans can take solace from the fact that the decision could help extend his longevity at the highest level. In 2017 when Roger Federer came back after a six-month layoff for a left knee surgery, he went on an absolute tear.
With a spruced up backhand and a much more aggressive game than before, the former World No. 1 wowed his fans by conquering the Australian Open and the Wimbledon Championships the same year. He also won the Indian Well-Miami double and the Shanghai Masters in 2017, beating arch-rival Rafael Nadal at all three events.
The fans would be really interested to see if Roger Federer can repeat those exploits in 2021. It might be a lot tougher this time considering he is close to 40 now, but the Swiss has shown too many times during his career that nothing is impossible for him.