Roger Federer has endured arguably the toughest season of his career in 2021. The 40-year-old has managed to play just 13 matches all year. Federer has struggled with his form as well as fitness ever since he made his comeback at the Qatar Open back in March.
Things took a turn for the worse at Wimbledon, where the Swiss legend injured his right knee, forcing him to bring his season to a premature end. Federer announced that he would require another surgery (third in two years) on his knee and stressed that he would try and return in some shape or form next year.
Needless to say, Federer's future looks very bleak. As such, all his fans can do now is wait patiently and cherish the memories the Swiss maestro has given them.
On that note, here's a look at his top three performances in 2021:
#3 Roger Federer's win over Dan Evans in the second round of Qatar Open
Based on performance alone, this match probably should not make the list of Federer's top three wins, even though he has given us a remarkably small sample size to play with.
However, considering the fact that this was Federer's first match in over a year, it cannot be denied that the Swiss surprised everyone, including himself, with his 7-6 (8), 3-6, 7-5 win over Dan Evans.
Evans tested Federer's racket skills as well as his legs, and the 40-year-old held firm for most of the match.
The 20-time Major champion found a considerable amount of success on his first serve, winning 79% of the points. Federer also struck 13 aces against the Brit.
The Swiss landed 10 first serves in a row at the start of the match and, more impressively, struck a second-serve ace on the 11th point.
#2 Federer's win over Dominik Koepfer in the third round at Roland Garros
Roger Federer entered the 2021 French Open devoid of any real expectations. The Swiss' only aim was to get some matches under his belt ahead of the grasscourt season and he certainly managed that.
His third-round win over Dominik Koepfer was particularly impressive. Federer won an energy-sapping 215-minute-long contest 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-5.
Koepfer's lefty serve and movement tested Federer, and at one point, the German looked like he would bring the Swiss' journey at Roland Garros to an end.
But Federer dug deep to earn one of his most hard-fought wins of the year. The 2009 champion poured his heart and soul into the match, leaving everything out on the court. Unfortunately for him, he did not have anything left in the tank for his fourth-round encounter against Matteo Berrettini and he was forced to withdraw.
#1 Federer's wins over Lorenzo Sonego & Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon
Wimbledon is where Roger Federer registered some of his finest performances of the year. His displays against Richard Gasquet in the second round and Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round showed he still had plenty of top-level tennis in him.
Gasquet's backhand was on song against Federer in the second round and he troubled the Swiss a fair bit in the opening set. But the eight-time Wimbledon champion produced a masterful display of aggressive tennis to keep Gasquet at bay.
Federer won 84% of his first-serve points and racked up a whopping 50 winners, rendering Gasquet a mere spectator at times.
The World No. 9 raised his level even further against Sonego in the fourth round. The Swiss barely put a foot wrong throughout the 131-minute-long encounter.
The 20-time Major champion was dominant on serve as well as return, breaking the Italian five times in the match. Federer also moved quite well, despite being a bit fatigued towards the end.
More impressively, the Swiss found his range from the baseline and committed just 26 unforced errors - his joint-lowest tally at this year's Championships.