Former professional tennis player and NBC Sports presenter Mary Carillo participated in a video conference yesterday, and touched upon a variety of tennis topics. In particular, she talked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Roger Federer, who is out for the rest of the season after undergoing a second surgery on his right knee.
Mary Carillo said that the truncated 2020 season has left aged players like Roger Federer and Serena Williams at a significant disadvantage. She believes that younger players have had the opportunity to work on various aspects of their games during the COVID-19 lockdown, but for the likes of Roger Federer, 'the clock is ticking'.
"For the younger players, they can be working on their games. They can be working on their techniques and mental toughness. For all these people, if they are using this time (well), it's great. For the likes of Roger Federer, the clock is really ticking."
Roger Federer is much closer to goodbye than hello: Mary Carillo
Roger Federer started his 2020 season with a run to the Australian Open semifinals, where he lost in straight sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. A few weeks later, the Swiss legend withdrew ahead of his title defence in Dubai as he underwent a surgery on his right knee.
At that time, Roger Federer had mentioned that he was hopeful of rejoining the tour during the grass leg of the season.
As things panned out, Roger Federer's absence from the circuit coincided with the COVID-19 outbreak that forced the ATP to suspend its tournaments till the end of July. This would have robbed Roger Federer the opportunity to play on grass, especially at his beloved Wimbledon; the grass leg of the season was one of the high profile-casualties of the pandemic.
However, Roger Federer would not have been able to play on grass anyway, or for that matter on any other surface this season. A second surgical procedure on his troublesome right knee meant that he had to pull out of the entire second half of the 2020 season.
Mary Carillo pointed out that Roger Federer had two major goals for the season - winning Wimbledon, and bagging the elusive gold medal in singles at the Olympics. The COVID-19 outbreak has, however, ensured that both the competitions will return only in 2021 - by which time Roger Federer will be 40.
"Roger Federer will be 39 in August. He wanted to do two things in the year 2020 - he wanted to win Wimbledon and wanted to win the Olympic gold in singles. Now if Tokyo happens next summer, hopefully, Roger will be there, he is going to be 40."
"This guy would have lost basically a year, a season of his career towards the end of it. He is much closer to goodbye than hello," Carillo concluded.