It is difficult to imagine tennis without Roger Federer, one of its greatest ever players. However, that is exactly what the situation has been for more than six months now.
Roger Federer has been kept away from the sport lately, by his two knee surgeries. The future, however, doesn’t look grim anymore as his coach and friend Severin Luthi recently confirmed that Federer has resumed physical training. Luthi also added that Federer is scheduled to resume tennis training around mid-August.
And now, in a special interview with SRFSport (which is to be broadcast this evening), Roger Federer has discussed his prolonged absence from the tennis courts in more detail.
I hope to be able to play tennis when I come back: Roger Federer
The last time the Swiss maestro took the court in front of spectators was when he played Rafael Nadal in an exhibition held in South Africa. The match took place on the 7th of February, and set the record for the highest attendance ever recorded in tennis with 51, 954 spectators.
Roger Federer then went under the knife on the 19th of February, which ruled him out for the next few months. And since that match with Nadal, Federer hasn't been around a tennis court too often.
“I've only played once since that game in South Africa," Federer revealed. "I also hope that I will still be able to play tennis when I come back. Well, I hit the wall several times. But I am only found once on a court.”
With 'hit the wall' the Swiss was referring to the Twitter post he had made in April which showed him displaying his spectacular reflexes and racquet-control. Roger Federer was seen hitting the ball back and forth with a wall in rapid succession, much to the delight of his fans.
This simple post by Roger Federer inspired many to try and play tennis even while being confined indoors due to the pandemic. Two Italian girls - Vittoria Oliveri and Carola Pessina - took to playing tennis with each other across their respective roofs, and their video became viral overnight. In fact, it even prompted Roger Federer to go visit them and play some roof-top tennis himself.
I still have so much time in front of me: Roger Federer
Roger Federer is known to live and breathe tennis. His love for the sport is unquestionable, and we often see him breaking down in tears after winning OR losing.
Tennis will lose arguably its greatest ever player the day he retires. But for now, Federer seems to have kept aside those thoughts as he is focusing on his return to the sport in 2021. He even hopes to play a tournament before the Australian Open next year.
Speaking about his immense love towards tennis, Roger Federer said:
“When I get old, I will certainly continue to play too. As long as my body will allow me, just for fun. I will play tennis all my life.”
While he certainly won't play competitive singles tennis forever, there is always that sliver of hope that he could perhaps shift to doubles and remain active in the sport.
That being said, the current situation regarding lack of match practice doesn’t bother the Swiss too much. He pointed out that there is no rush to start hitting again, since 2021 is still very far away.
“Of course, this (situation) is extreme. I can play while standing but without moving. But I still have so much time in front of me,” Federer said.Published 25 Jul 2020, 21:53 IST