All good things must come to an end.
And right now, the tennis world is in meltdown, trying to figure out if that’s the case for Roger Federer.
The Swiss great announced on Thursday (AEDT) he’d underwent knee surgery and would return in time for Wimbledon in June.
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It’ll be just the second surgery of his entire career. But both have come in the last few years.
And at 38, there is no guarantee that Federer will return to a level required to compete with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Federer had surgery in February 2016 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He returned after months out, and won the 2017 Australian Open.
“There are no such assurances he can do anything like that again,”
Mitchell added: “Their [fans] concern – and that of the entire industry – is that, at 38, Federer is hurrying towards the last chapter of his remarkable story.
“While he has had injuries in the past – although few until he passed 35, certainly not as many as his most of his contemporaries – the accumulation of trouble in key areas of his body does not encourage confidence in his medium- to long-term future.”
Federer will miss the French Open and no fewer than three other tournaments while he is sidelined for at least four months after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
The man who has spent more weeks ranked No. 1 than any other and owns a men’s-record 20 Grand Slam titles said the operation was in his home country of Switzerland on Wednesday.
He currently is ranked No. 3 behind rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Last month in Melbourne, Federer was hampered by what he said was a groin problem. He needed to erase seven match points to get past Tennys Sandgren in the quarterfinals, then was clearly not quite himself during a straight-set loss to Djokovic in the semifinals.
“Federer, who has been getting retirement questions since the early 2010s, reiterated in Melbourne and Cape Town that he had no plans to retire,”
“But Federer, who has four young children with his wife, Mirka, has also has made it clear that he will continue only as long as it makes it sense for his family.
“What drives him at this stage is his connection with the public … but also his conviction that he still has the game to win more major titles.”
Clarey added: “But for now all that is clear is that Federer, at a very advanced tennis age, needs to recover from another surgery, one that outsiders did not see coming.”
The French Open is the lone major title Federer has won just once; in fact, it is the only one he has not won at least five times.
“Nobody wants to have to recover from knee surgery, but if there was a time for Federer to do it, this was it,”
This will be the fourth time in the past five years that Federer is absent from the clay-court major that he won in 2009 to complete a career Grand Slam.
“We are disappointed not to see Roger again,” Roland Garros tournament director Guy Forget told France Info.
“If he had taken this decision, then it was the wisest.”
Russian world number five Daniil Medvedev said it was sad to see Federer forced to sit out the US hardcourt and European clay court seasons.
“The news shocked me. I didn’t know he was going to have an operation,” said Medvedev who is the top seed at the ongoing Marseille ATP event this week.
“It’s a little sad for him in the sense that he misses tournaments when he is still playing well. I’m sure he’s going to come back well at the grass court season.”
Fellow veteran Gilles Simon, who played Federer for the first time 12 years ago, said the Swiss will be a serious contender on his return.
“The last time it was hard but he still won the Australian Open in his stride after not playing for nine months!” said the 35-year-old Simon.
“There’s nothing else to say. We’ll wait and see.”