The grass season certainly did not start in the best way for Roger Federer, who left the scene in the second round in Halle. It was even since 2001 that the Swiss champion did not leave the German tournament before the quarter-finals.
The defeat at the hands of Felix Auger-Aliassime showed alarming signs less than a week from Wimbledon, which represents the great goal of his season together with the Tokyo Olympics. As if that were not enough, the former world number 1 showed up two hours late at the press conference, explaining that he needed to swallow the progress of the third set before speaking to the media.
The 39-years-old from Basel will be seeded number 7 at the Championships, which kick off next Monday after last year's cancellation (due to the global pandemic). Many wonder if it will be his last performance of him on Church Road, where he will try to win the ninth trophy of his unrivaled career.
Speaking on Eurosport, Alex Corretja and Mats Wilander said they were concerned about the body language manifested by the Swiss. Corretja said: "My main fear is that he still doesn't feel 100% physically secure. He needs a very convincing first week at Wimbledon to get the pace to play 100% in the decisive rounds.
In that case he would become dangerous, but there are many players who can hurt him right now. In past years, however, there were only two or three rivals who could beat him." Wilander focused on Roger Federer's attitude: "I had only seen that body language once against Gustavo Kuerten at Roland Garros.
The fact that he has pointed the finger at himself is not a positive sign. That body language fuels the confidence of his opponents, because it seemed he didn't want to fight to the end. A 21-year-old boy is willing to stay on the pitch for 5 hours just to beat Federer."
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."