In an interview granted to the Express Sport portal, former ATP number 4 Greg Rusedski analyzed the prospects of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He said: "Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are two absolute tennis legends, but now it is no longer solely up to them.
Novak Djokovic is now out of reach for both of them on hard courts, as shown by his results in 2021. Then there are the Next Gen, who have made a further leap in quality. I am referring above all to Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will all be protagonists in 2022.
Roger will try to give himself one last chance at Wimbledon, where he came close to winning in 2019. This year he didn't play particularly well in London, but he still made it to the quarterfinals. With better condition, he could still have a say about him on the grass.
Rafa, for his part, will focus on Roland Garros. Paris is the tournament in which he has the most chance of winning his 21st Slam." Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both played very little in 2021. The Swiss star played 13 official matches this year, with a subdued tally of nine wins and four losses.
At Wimbledon he reached the quarter-finals, also benefiting from a not impossible draw. When he looked like he could go through with it, he was literally annihilated by Hubert Hurkacz on Center Court. The Pole, author of a splendid 2021, even took away the satisfaction of giving the King a bagel in his favorite tournament.
A few weeks later, the former world number 1 announced that he had to have knee surgery for the third time in the past 18 months. Recently, the 20-time Grand Slam champion announced that his return to the tour should take place in the summer of 2022.
It didn't go much better for Rafa, limited to just seven tournaments this season. The Spaniard posted two titles on his beloved clay court, but failed the assault on his 14th Roland Garros. The 35-year-old from Manacor appears to have recovered from his foot injury and will be back in action at the prestigious Abu Dhabi exhibition.
Wilander: "There are too many opponents for Roger Federer"
Interviewed by Eurosport, seven-time Slam champion Mats Wilander expressed doubts about Roger Federer's chances of coming back to competition. Wilander said: "I think Roger Federer will return to play on the ATP Tour.
He himself confirmed this several times, so it would be a surprise if he didn't. Roger has always listened to his body perfectly, but now everything is more complicated." "The situation has changed a lot compared to Federer's last full season, that is 2019.
Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev have made a further qualitative leap, especially in this second half of 2021. The Swiss has his weapons and experience of him, but I doubt that at 40-41 he will prevail over Zverev or Medvedev.
I don't think Roger will play many games unless he realizes he can still make it to the bottom of the Grand Slams. I think he is curious to find out what he is capable of at 41 years old. Not even Federer knows exactly how things will go, but he loves to get involved."
2021 didn't bring Roger Federer much joy. The former world number 1 has struggled more than expected to recover an acceptable condition, ending up playing just 13 matches since March at Wimbledon. The Swiss phenomenon, who had undergone two knee surgeries in 2020, has collected nine wins and four defeats, a balance that speaks volumes about his current difficulties.
After a clear defeat in the quarter-finals in London, the King announced that he had suffered a knee relapse and had to operate for the third time in the last 18 months. The 20-time Grand Slam champion removed his crutches a few weeks ago and will be able to start racing again at the beginning of 2022.
To get the racket back in his hand, he will have to wait for spring instead. The 40-year-old from Basel admitted that it will be difficult to see him again on the tour before the summer of 2022, even questioning his presence at Wimbledon.