"When you're aiming everything towards one tournament, it's normal to put problems aside and give it your all" - Roger Federer on playing through injury at Wimbledon

Roger Federer in action at Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer in action at Wimbledon 2021
Iman Guha

Roger Federer has given his fans plenty of incredible memories over the past two decades. But one that they will be keen to forget is that of the bagel he was served by Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon earlier this year.

Federer looked out of sorts at various stages of the match and his movement was shot as he fell to a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 defeat to the Pole on Centre Court.

In an interview with Tribune de Geneve, Federer was asked whether he took encouragement from his run at Wimbledon, given that he reached the quarterfinals despite being hampered physically.

Federer revealed that he doubted his chances at Wimbledon ever since he picked up an injury during his loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime at Halle. The Swiss said he couldn't pinpoint the exact nature of the injury, but knew he would be restricted.

"I already felt in Halle against Felix-Auger Aliassime that my Wimbledon would not be what I had hoped for. Even though I didn't know the nature of my injury, I would be restricted," Federer said.

Federer compared the importance of Wimbledon in his calendar to that of Roland Garros for fellow 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal. He pointed out that it was only natural to put all his problems aside in order to focus on doing well at Wimbledon.

"But when you're aiming everything towards one tournament - as probably Rafa is at Roland Garros - it's normal to put the problems aside and give it your all. In addition, you always hope for a miracle. There is always a small chance," Federer explained.

"When you're battered, you cling on to everything" - Roger Federer

Roger Federer and Hubert Hurkacz after their showdown in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer and Hubert Hurkacz after their showdown in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2021

In his quarterfinal match against Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon, Roger Federer led 4-1 in the second set after losing the first. But the Swiss was pegged back and ended up losing it in a tiebreak.

Speaking about the possibility of reversing the outcome of the match had he won the second set, Federer said he would have had to bank on his experience to pull him through as his body was "battered".

"What would have happened if I had won the tiebreak of the second set against Hurkacz? When you're battered, you cling on to everything: your past victories, your experience on grass," Federer said.

The 40-year-old also highlighted the fact that he was hardly able to defend at all during his Wimbledon campaign owing to his injury.

"In retrospect, I realized that I had won almost no point at Wimbledon when I had had to defend myself," Federer pointed out.

Ever the optimist, Federer insisted on looking at the silver lining from his SW19 campaign. The Swiss said his run to the quarterfinals gave him confidence that he could still compete at a high level despite the strain on his body.

"But yes, Wimbledon confirmed to me that despite my limitations, I could still play at a high level. And considering how far I've come, I just have to try again," Federer said.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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