A few days ago Swiss legend Roger Federer announced his elongated layover from tennis, and he will rejoin the circuit in 2021 after undergoing knee surgery. With Federer calling off his 2020 season, he might drop out from the top five rankings. That is, only when the tennis tour resumes.
Tennis expert Brad Gilbert stated that Federer might be unseeded when he makes his return to Aussie Open 2021 and that would eventually complicate his path to the second week of the tournament.
“I’m not going to write him off, but this is concerning,” analyst Brad Gilbert told ESPN. “Thirty-nine ain’t what it used to be, that’s for sure. But if tennis gets going again, he’ll probably be unseeded for the Australian Open 2021 because he played so little early this year. And that could mean trouble.”
Nevertheless, even when he’s unseeded he has the ability to create wonders on the tour. In 2017, Roger was seeded 17th in Melbourne and was running on a five-year-long Grand Slam less streak. The world conceived him to be too old to become a Major Champion.
But, he defied the laws of nature and the expert theories by tennis analysts and went on clinch major titles in his mid-thirties. In addition to that, he also turned World Number one and claimed Masters 1000 titles. In 2019, he reached the semifinals of French Open where he lost to the ultimate king of clay Rafael Nadal. It was his first appearance in the tournament after a hiatus of four long years.
Will the age factor stop Roger Federer?
“We are in uncharted territory, the way guys are training and taking care of themselves. Sure, Ken Rosewall and Jimmy Connors, but today’s game is more physical. Also, the players are tougher,” Gilbert said.
With Federer coming back in 2021 as 39-year-old, the Swiss maestro would have to outplay the athletic and powerful players like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, and Alexander Zverev. His arch-rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be giving him a tough time.
“When you take that much time even at 25, 26, it can take six months to get your mojo back. It’s not like you can take your time at 39, especially if you’re not protected by seeding,” he added.
World Number four Roger Federer became the oldest male player to clinch a Grand Slam since Ken Rosewell in 1972 at Aussie Open 2018.