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"You're not getting the guy from 2017, time has passed on" - Rusedski on why Roger Federer will struggle in his comeback

Roger Federer at the 2020 Australian Open
Roger Federer at the 2020 Australian Open
Modified 15 Nov 2020, 16:37 IST

Former World No. 4 Greg Rusedski believes that Roger Federer's comeback will not be as easy as everyone thinks. The Brit claimed that the Swiss maestro will find it difficult to win another Major after being out of the game for 11 months.

Roger Federer has not played since January's Australian Open, where he lost in the semifinals to Novak Djokovic. He underwent a right knee surgery in February and another one in June, the latter of which made him decide to skip the rest of the season.

Rusedski pointed out that such serious injuries are tougher to recover from when you're close to 40. The Brit also mentioned that the rest of the tour may have gotten accustomed to Federer's ultra-aggressive playing style, which is unlikely to reap him the same kind of rewards that it did four years ago.

"Roger Federer is a year by year case, especially after having the knee surgeries as well. You’re not getting the guy in 2017, I’m sorry. Time has passed on," Rusedski stated. "When he won tournaments in 2017, the courts were particularly quick, the balls were quick, and he brought a style that people weren’t expecting. They’re expecting that style now, so they know what they’re getting."

Rusedski believes Roger Federer is still very capable of playing great tennis, but that winning seven matches in a row at a Grand Slam is a different challenge altogether.

“Unfortunately, not like a fine bottle of wine like Margaux when it get to 40 years it goes up in value it, it gets every bit harder, the months you miss away from the game," Rusedski said. "Six months and 11 months in men’s tennis is a huge difference. Roger Federer can still play great tennis, but to win the Slams is another story."

The Brit added that Roger Federer will be desperate for the one big thing missing from his cabinet - an Olympic gold medal in singles - when he returns. The Swiss has won a silver medal in singles at the 2012 Olympic Games and a gold medal in doubles at the 2008 Beijing Games, but never a gold medal in singles.

"The Olympics is a huge priority for Roger Federer to compete there because that’s the one thing he doesn’t have, a gold medal in the singles, that he’s desperate for,” Rusedski said.

Novak Djokovic & Rafael Nadal will both pass Roger Federer in the Slam tally if they stay healthy: Greg Rusedski

Novak Djokovic (L) and Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic (L) and Rafael Nadal

Greg Rusedski thinks World No. 1 Novak Djokovic could end up with the most singles Grand Slams in men's tennis history history, but added that the Australian Open in January would play a crucial role in the race.

“Both Nadal and Djokovic will both pass Roger Federer if they both stay healthy with the amount of Slams they’ve won," Rusedski said. "Djokovic will have it (the record), but next year is going to define who will have it more or less because you give the French to Rafael Nadal, the opening part of the year is going to be interesting Down Under where Djokovic has dominated and Djokovic should be at 18, but he’s at 17 after what happened at the US Open. "
"It’s between Nadal and Djokovic in my opinion," he added. "The opening salvo of the year Down Under will give us an idea of what’s going to happen."

The Brit also claimed that Novak Djokovic would need to start winning multiple Slams a year going forward to catch up with Rafael Nadal, who he expects to win the French Open once again.

“If Nadal gets to 21 – I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get the French again the way he played this year – then Djokovic needs to get multiple Slams in a year from now because he’s basically three behind. He needs to start getting two or three Slams a year now,” Rusedski said.
Published 15 Nov 2020, 14:42 IST
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