Roger Federer and Serena Williams are arguably the world's most powerful tennis players at the moment. And according to former World No. 1 Boris Becker, the two superstars have not lost a year in their careers due to the COVID-19 lockdown; instead, they have gained one.
With the world forced into a strict quarantine, tennis - like every other sport - has been greatly affected. Major tournaments like Roland Garros and Wimbledon have been either postponed or cancelled, while the 2020 Summer Olympics have been shifted to the next year. Regular tennis resuming anytime soon seems improbable.
While fans are worried about the veterans of the tour losing a year due to the unprecedented break, Becker believes that it would actually benefit them. Roger Federer and Serena Williams, both 38, are among the senior-most elite players on tour at the moment, and Becker believes the forced break is likely to give them more recovery time.
“If the year is lost then I don’t think it’s bad for Federer or Serena,” Becker said in an interview with Sky Sports. "They haven’t really abused their body for a year so in a way, they have gained a year.”
Becker also added that players like Andy Murray, who are in the convalescent phase of serious injuries, will get a significant boost in their comeback.
"I think it is good for players like Andy Murray because it gives him more time to get physically ready to come back in 2021," Becker said.
"I don’t think the young players benefit actually because they lose a year gaining experience and playing matches. I think they will be affected the most because they have never taken that much time off."
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal know how good they are: Becker
Becker went on to say that players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who have now been around for a while, will not be affected adversely by the lockdown. The German believes they have enough experience and self-confidence to ride this period unscathed.
“It benefits more Djokovic, Nadal and Federer because they know how good they are and what to do," Becker explained. “We will not see a change of form from them but the young players will take more time to come back.”
Roger Federer is currently ranked fourth in the ATP singles rankings, behind Djokovic, Nadal and Dominic Thiem. The Swiss leads the Grand Slam charts with 20 titles to his name, with Nadal (19) and Djokovic (17) at his heels.
Serena, on the other hand, is one Major title away from Margaret Court's record tally of 24 Slams. The American is No. 9 in the WTA singles rankings currently, having won her last Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2017.