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Roger Federer's injuries - Full history of the Swiss' career setbacks

Roger Federer at the 2020 Australian Open
Roger Federer at the 2020 Australian Open
Rudra Biswas
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 11 Aug 2020, 01:04 IST
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More than five months ago, Roger Federer took to social media to make a surprise announcement. The Swiss declared that he had undergone an arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, which would rule him out of action till the grass leg of the season.

The ensuing COVID-19 outbreak, however, ensured that the ATP tour stood suspended till August. That in turn meant that the entire grass swing, along with a bevvy of other tournaments, got cancelled.

Then in July, Roger Federer announced that he had to undertake another arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome right knee. The news shocked the tennis fraternity, and prompted many to question whether Federer had played his last match on tour.

The reason why the news was especially surprising is that Roger Federer has never been known as an injury-prone player. Even his recent performances have belied his 38 years of age; Federer still seems to have the physical conditioning of a 25-year-old.

Moreover, the Swiss has a seemingly effortless style of play that doesn't produce as much wear and tear on the body as, say, Rafael Nadal. The left-hander's style of play is quite different from that of Federer, who is often described as 'gliding' on the court.

But the 'effortlessness' that tennis fans have come to associate with the ageing Swiss does come at a price. It's a price that has never been documented very well because it's Roger Federer - a player who is seemingly ageless and injury-free.

The truth, however, is Federer has had his fair share of physical issues over the years - and especially in recent times. On that note, let's have a look at all the injuries suffered by the 38-year-old during his storied career so far:

Roger Federer's foot injury at Indian Wells 2007

Roger Federer received a medical timeout at Indian Wells 2007
Roger Federer received a medical timeout at Indian Wells 2007
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In 2007, Roger Federer entered the Australian Open on the back of a 29-match win streak. The Swiss won the title in Melbourne and then in Dubai too, to extend his streak to 41.

On the cusp of breaking Guillermo Vilas' all-time record for most consecutive match wins, Roger Federer faltered in the opening round against Guillermo Canas. The then 25-year-old took a rare medical timeout for a foot injury at Indian Wells, and struggled to produce his best tennis as he fell to the Argentine in straight sets.

Two weeks later Federer again fell to Canas, this time at the Miami Masters, while presumably still recovering from the niggle.

Roger Federer's back injury at Tennis Masters Cup 2008

 Roger Federer receives back treatment at the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup
 Roger Federer receives back treatment at the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup

Ardent tennis fans would know that Roger Federer's back has caused him plenty of problems during his career. And the first of many such instances dates back to 2008.

Roger Federer toiled for the entirety of that season as he dealt with a bout of glandular fever. Then towards the end of the season, Federer was forced to retire from a tournament for the first time in his career.

He withdrew from the Paris Masters before the quarterfinal, citing a back injury. The issue would cause him grief at the year-end championships too, as he failed to reach the semifinals.

Roger Federer's back and leg injuries at Wimbledon 2010

 Roger Federer during a press conference at Wimbledon 2010
 Roger Federer during a press conference at Wimbledon 2010

Following losses to Robin Soderling in the Roland Garros quarterfinal and Lleyton Hewitt in the Halle final, Roger Federer didn't seem to be at his best coming into the 2010 Wimbledon Championships.

After avoiding a shock loss in the opening round against Alejandro Falla, Federer fell in the quarterfinals to Tomas Berdych. In the post-match press conference, the then six-time Wimbledon champion revealed that he had been nursing a back and right leg injury.

The Swiss Maestro displayed little signs of physical discomfort during the tournament, but he didn't play his best tennis either.

Roger Federer's groin strain at Halle 2011

Roger Federer looks on at Wimbledon 2011
Roger Federer looks on at Wimbledon 2011

In 2011, Roger Federer went without a Grand Slam title for the first time in nine years. Federer fell to Djokovic in the semifinals of both the Australian Open and the US Open. And although he did get the better of the Serb in the last four at Roland Garros, he was denied by Nadal in the final.

Following his exertions at the claycourt Major, the Swiss pulled out of the Gerry Weber Open citing a groin strain. The injury wasn't too serious though, and Federer was back to full fitness at Wimbledon.

Roger Federer's back injury at Wimbledon 2012

. Roger Federer had back niggles in his Round-of-16 match at Wimbledon 2012
. Roger Federer had back niggles in his Round-of-16 match at Wimbledon 2012

In 2012, Roger Federer won Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells and Madrid, and entered Wimbledon as one of the favorites. However, the Swiss' party was almost spoiled by Julien Benneteau, who took a surprise two-set lead in the third round.

On six occasions in the fourth set, Federer came within two points of defeat. But he escaped in five, to set up a fourth round clash against Xavier Malisse.

Roger Federer took a two-set lead in that match but needed his back to be treated in the third, which he lost before prevailing in four. Federer overcame his dodgy back and went on to beat better opponents, as he took out Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in consecutive four-set matches to end his two-and-a-half-year Grand Slam title drought.

Roger Federer's back injury at Indian Wells 2013

Roger Federer played most of the 2013 season with back issues
Roger Federer played most of the 2013 season with back issues

After a routine third-round win over Ivan Dodig at Indian Wells 2013, the defending champion suffered a tweak in his back. Roger Federer couldn't recover in time for his next match - against Rafael Nadal - and lost in straight sets.

The Swiss later admitted that he should have withdrawn from the tournament after the match against Dodig.

But it continued to be a difficult year for Federer. His back injury, although not very serious, hampered his level of play all season.

Roger Federer suffered a shock second-round defeat to Sergiy Stakhovsky at Wimbledon, making his earliest Grand Slam exit in more than a decade.

Roger Federer's back injury at the 2014 ATP Finals

Roger Federer at the 2014 ATP Finals
Roger Federer at the 2014 ATP Finals

In 2014, Roger Federer began his record 13th consecutive campaign at the year-end ATP Finals with straight-set wins over Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Andy Murray.

Federer then recovered a late break of serve and saved four match points in a tight three-set semifinal against compatriot Stan Wawrinka, to set up a title clash with Novak Djokovic.

Roger Federer's win, however, came at a cost. During the closing stages of the semifinal, he tweaked his back while playing a shot. That rendered him incapable of playing the final, and he ended up withdrawing from the tournament.

Roger Federer's knee injury at Australian Open 2016

Roger Federer at Australian Open 2016
Roger Federer at Australian Open 2016

After winning his first five matches in comprehensive fashion at the 2016 Australian Open, Roger Federer set up a showdown with defending champion Novak Djokovic for a place in the final.

Having fallen to the Serb in the pair's last two Grand Slam meetings - the finals at 2015 Wimbledon and US Open - Federer was at the receiving end of a blitzkrieg from Djokovic. The four-time Australian Open champion went down two sets after just an hour of play.

Although Federer stymied Djokovic's momentum by taking the third, the Serb reasserted his ascendancy in the fourth to storm into the final.

Following that match, Federer suffered a freak accident. He tore his meniscus after injuring his left knee while running a bath for one of his daughters.

Federer underwent an arthroscopic surgery to repair his knee but struggled for fluency throughout the rest of the season.

Roger Federer's back injury at Madrid 2016

Roger Federer at a press conference in 2016
Roger Federer at a press conference in 2016

After a 10-week hiatus due to an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee, Roger Federer returned to action at Monte Carlo where he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals.

In search of more game-time, Federer entered Madrid but had to withdraw from the tournament with a back problem which emanated during a practice session.

The Swiss was back in Rome a week later, but was laid low by a bad back again. He suffered a third-round exit and subsequently withdrew from Roland Garros.

Roger Federer's knee injury at Wimbledon 2016

Roger Federer injured his knee at Wimbledon 2016
Roger Federer injured his knee at Wimbledon 2016

After missing a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 16 years, Roger Federer arrived at Wimbledon 2016 desperately in search of a positive result.

With World No. 1 Novak Djokovic falling in the third round and Rafael Nadal missing the tournament due to injury, it was a golden opportunity for Federer to end his four-year-long Grand Slam title drought.

The stars seemed to have aligned for the Swiss as he escaped a two-set deficit and three match points against Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals. But that was as good as it got; Federer aggravated his knee injury against Milos Raonic in the semifinals, and squandered a two-sets-to-one lead before falling in five.

Federer eventually cut short his season to tend to his bothersome knee, before making a dream comeback in 2017.

Roger Federer's back injury at Montreal 2017

Roger Federer addresses the fans after the 2017 Coupe Rogers final
Roger Federer addresses the fans after the 2017 Coupe Rogers final

Roger Federer seemed to be back at his imperious best in 2017. Following a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title, the Swiss rode a 34-set win streak coming into the Coupe Rogers.

That streak ended at 36 during the tournament, but Federer still managed to reach the final. However, against an inspired young opponent in Alexander Zverev, the Swiss legend fell to a straight-sets defeat.

To make matters worse, Federer injured his back during the match. The then 19-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from Cincinnati the following week as he sought some rest to tend to his injury ahead of the US Open.

Roger Federer's hand injury at Stuttgart 2018

Roger Federer at a post-match press conference at Wimbledon 2018
Roger Federer at a post-match press conference at Wimbledon 2018

At the 2018 Australian Open, Roger Federer turned back the clock to win a record-extending 20th Grand Slam singles title. A few months later Federer lifted the Stuttgart title, but he faltered at his next three tournaments.

Federer fell to Borna Coric in the Halle final and squandered a match point in a five-set quarterfinal defeat to Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon.

On the North American hardcourts, Federer fell to Novak Djokovic in the Cincinnati Masters final. He was then stunned by unheralded Australian John Millman in the US Open fourth round.

Federer's camp later revealed that he had suffered a hand injury at the start of the grasscourt season. The injury stalled him for about three months before he triumphed for a ninth time at his hometown tournament.

Roger Federer's leg injury at Rome 2019

Roger Federer reached the quarterfinals at Madrid and Rome in 2019
Roger Federer reached the quarterfinals at Madrid and Rome in 2019

Playing in just his second claycourt tournament in almost three years, Roger Federer had an epic battle with Borna Coric at the 2019 Rome Masters. The Swiss maestro saved two match points against the young Croat before going on to complete the comeback win and reach the quarterfinals.

However, amid the exertions during the week Roger Federer injured his right leg - which forced him to pull out of his quarterfinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

It was not a serious injury in hindsight, as Federer would go on to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros and make an epic run at Wimbledon.

Roger Federer's back injury at US Open 2019

Roger Federer receives back treatment during his quarterfinal match at the 2019 US Open
Roger Federer receives back treatment during his quarterfinal match at the 2019 US Open

Following his Wimbledon heartbreak, Roger Federer took a caravan trip with his family before returning to action in Cincinnati - where he fell to Andrey Rublev in the third round.

At his next stop, the US Open, Federer's dodgy back issues resurfaced at the most inopportune moment.

In the quarterfinals, Federer was up by two sets to one against Grigor Dimitrov, a player who had never beaten the Swiss in seven previous attempts. However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion soon ran out of steam.

After dropping the fourth set, Federer required a trip from the trainer to tend to his back at the start of the fifth. It was to no avail though, as the 37-year-old fell in five sets.

Roger Federer's knee injury at Australian Open 2020

Roger Federer receives medical treatment at the 2020 Australian Open
Roger Federer receives medical treatment at the 2020 Australian Open

Making his first appearance of the season at the 2020 Australian Open, Roger Federer struggled for fluency against opponents he would usually dismiss without much trouble.

After straight-set wins over Steve Johnson and Filip Krajinovic, Federer ran into rough weather against John Millman. Federer dropped the first and third sets to fall two sets to one down, and after recovering to force a fifth he came within two points of defeat in the match tiebreaker. But he then reeled off six points on the trot to see off the Australian.

The six-time champion then recovered from the loss of the opening set to get past Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the fourth round.

In the quarterfinal against Tennys Sandgren, Federer took the opener but spectacularly faded in the next two sets. On the cusp of a rather humiliating defeat, Federer dug deep to save as many as seven match points in the fourth set to force a decider.

It was quite apparent that Roger Federer was ailing from a groin injury, for which he took a medical timeout too. However, he managed to run away with the fifth set to script one of the greatest escape acts of his career and set up a semifinal showdown with Novak Djokovic.

Federer didn't take the practice courts ahead of the semifinal - leading to speculation that he might pull out of the match against the Serb. But he did show up for the semifinal and made a rather blistering start, as he arrived within a point of a double break in the first set.

Djokovic assumed command of the match from there though, as he handed Federer a third straight-sets Australian Open semifinal defeat in four meetings between the pair.

As it turned out, that match proved to be Federer's last of 2020 as two knee surgeries ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Published 02 Aug 2020, 02:22 IST
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