As the 2020 season is over, we shift our focus towards the upcoming tour. The 2021 Australian Open is set to host fans again; however, it continues to struggle with its schedule crisis. On a brighter note, the major tournament will mark the return of the Swiss maestro Roger Federer. With many questions circling about his injury and age, Federer’s former coach Paul Annacone has some answers for them.
After the 2020 Australian Open semi-final defeat, the 20-time Grand Slam winner did not return the entire season. This was the second year since 2000 where Federer finished the season title-less.
Considering the seriousness of his knee injury, it looks almost impossible for the 39-year-old to win his 21st Grand Slam.
Regarded as one of the best coaches even today, Paul is currently working with American star Taylor Fritz. Apart from Federer, his resume consists of legends such as Pete Sampras and Tim Henman and contemporary stars like Sloane Stephens and Stan Wawrinka. He has also coached the Great Britain Davis Cup team from 2008 to 2010.
Adding on the thought that knee injuries are ordinarily difficult to recover from, Paul separates the greats from the regulars. “That’s the big key, right? At 39 years of age, how quickly and how well do you recover,” said Paul.
He added, “They are the exception, not the rule, so try not to guess at what you think they are able to do.”
The Swiss maestro has won 3 Grand Slams after his first title-less season in 2016 due to his injury.
The American coached the 103 ATP titles winner from 2010 to 2013. In that period, Federer won 2 ATP Finals and 2012 Wimbledon Championships.
Even though coming back from injury is not always easy, the Basel-native never fails to look flawless on the court.
Paul continued, “With Roger, we have seen that before, we have seen other players do it before as well. The thing that becomes more challenging is not to play great, but to stay great.
“Can you stay great for seven matches over two weeks at a major, three out of five sets to three points on the serve, the offence and proactive kind of movement versus reactive movement? I think helps Federer; if he is healthy, he hits spots on his serve and that court is quick.”
Giving his final word of advice, Paul ends with, “Don’t bet against him.” Roger has been a privilege to watch for two decades and has swayed the world with his kind character. He will continue to do so at the 2021 Australian Open, a title which he has held 6 times before.