The tournament that Roger Federer has been looking forward to for two years is now just around the corner. In fact, the 2021 edition of Wimbledon will kick off on Monday 28 June, in a very different atmosphere than what we were used to.
The Swiss champion dreams of putting his ninth title in the Championships on the showcase, so as to redeem the atrocious insult he suffered in the 2019 final. It would be useless to hide that the former world number 1 does not reach the top of his great seasonal goal, having played very few official matches in the last year and a half.
Of the eight games he has played so far in 2021, the 39-years-old from Basel boasts an unexciting record of five wins and three losses. The last one arrived on the beloved Halle grass about ten days ago, however in quite alarming ways.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion was in fact reassembled by Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round, practically disappearing from the field in the third and decisive set. The Wimbledon draw gave King Roger a hand, who may not be able to meet Novak Djokovic before the final, but the recent version of the Maestro is beatable for many players.
In a long conversation on Tennis.com, the legendary Chris Evert expressed more than a few doubts about the current state of form of the Swiss. Evert analyzes Federer's chances at Wimbledon: "It will be an uphill battle for Roger Federer.
If you look at the last game he lost in Halle, it was evident that he himself was the first to be very disappointed. Not surprisingly, he showed up at the press conference two hours late to mull over that defeat. Age, combined with two knee surgeries, make it more difficult for the eight-time Wimbledon champion.
There comes a time when you wake up in the morning and you realize that the desire to win is no longer enough for you. It is really difficult at that age to put together seven games over the span of two weeks. People think you go out on the court and automatically express your best tennis, but it doesn't work that way.
Especially when you have 25 years of touring on your shoulders. If Roger manages to make it to the final, it would be a monumental undertaking."
Wilander: "Roger Federer had a bad body language in Halle"
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."