Roger Federer fell in the second round of the Halle tournament, leaving the scene before the quarter-finals as he hadn't done for exactly 20 years. Beyond the three-set defeat at the hands of Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Swiss champion appeared in great difficulty in the third set, flaunting a body language that leaves little room for optimism.
Ten days after the start of Wimbledon, his main goal of the season, it is legitimate to wonder if the former world number 1 can really reach the end. As far as we have seen so far, the answer is no. The 39-year-old from Basel seemed to be growing at Roland Garros, where he had reached the second round, only to retire on the eve of the match against Matteo Berrettini.
A decision that many had criticized, especially in the absence of a real injury. During an interview granted to the Brazilian portal Tenis News, the three-time Paris champion Gustavo Kuerten defended the choice of King Roger, hoping to see him in top form at the Championships.
Kuerten said: "I think it was a very wise decision on Roger Federer's part. I understand that not everyone has taken it well, but at this point in his career he has to carefully measure his efforts. His biggest chance is at Wimbledon, we all know it and we hope he can make his dream come true.
We must not forget that Roger was only one point from winning two years ago, the title was practically his, but he lost in the most brutal way that exists. It would be very sad if that were his last major moment in a Grand Slam.
I really hope that he can shine at Wimbledon and that he wins the tournament, that would be great. At the same time, if he realizes that he no longer has a chance to win a major, then it is right for him to stop. An epilogue like that of Pete Sampras would be ideal, but in any case we can only say thank you."
Roger Federer closer to retirement?
The return to Halle of the Swiss champion and twenty-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer lasted much shorter than expected with the Swiss tennis player who succumbed in three sets to the young Canadian talent Felix Auger Aliassime.
Beyond the tennis player's performance, what appeared strange and in some ways worrying was Roger's attitude on the pitch, disheartened and now resigned in the third set to a fate that seemed almost obvious. In addition, the media appeared concerned that Federer delayed his press conference by two and a half hours.
After the defeat against Felix Auger Aliassime, Roger Federer made the following statements: "I needed time to digest the third set, I was disappointed with how the match ended, something similar to what also happened in Geneva.
Honestly, at the end of the match, I didn't know what to say. From the three victories at Roland Garros I have gathered a lot of information on the matches, then changing surfaces is not easy at all, Felix is a great tennis player and he played better than me.
For my part, I didn't have a good attitude, I felt disappointed in how I felt and how things were going. All the difficulties followed me and I was not able to push them away. I realized it wasn't my day and there was nothing I could do.
I am neither happy nor proud." Finally, however, there remains a glimmer of hope: "If you look at the 1500 races or so that I have played in my career these are things that can happen and the good thing is that I know that it will not happen to me the next time I will be on the pitch, I talked to Ivan Ljubicic (coach) and I understood everything.
I just have to be positive and think about the next goal, which is Wimbledon." Finally speaking of the physical problems Roger concluded: "The rehabilitation process has been a great challenge for me, anyone who has undergone several surgeries knows what I am talking about and this is the my biggest concern."