2021 did not give Roger Federer any particular joys. The former world number 1 played just 13 competitive matches last year, racking up nine wins against four defeats. The 20-time Grand Slam champion did everything he could to get in good shape at Wimbledon, but his run across London's lawns was cut short in the quarterfinals at the hands of Hubert Hurkacz.
The Pole took away the satisfaction of handing a bagel to the King on Center Court. A few weeks later, the Swiss phenomenon announced that he had suffered a relapse in his right knee and had to operate for the third time in the last 18 months.
According to what was reported by the Swiss press, the 40-year-old from Basel would have recently resumed training in Dubai. His return to the circuit will not take place before the summer, as Roger himself admitted some time ago.
During a long interview with Sportskeeda, Purav Raja analyzed Federer's prolonged absence and the imminent generational change. "The generational change is already taking place, even if it is not very fast. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will soon step aside and Next Gen will take over the reins of the men's Tour," said Raja.
"You have to understand that tennis is bigger than any player. Wimbledon is bigger than Federer, the same goes for the other Grand Slam tournaments. There will be new champions and fans will learn to like them. Tennis and life go on, there is no reason to worry," added the Indian.
Belinda Bencic believes Federer still has something to give: "Roger has been out of the game several times in recent years, but he's always come back in style. We are talking about one of the best athletes of any era. I really hope that he will return to good health and that he will give himself other joys before the retirement.
The tennis world needs a phenomenon like him to move forward." The Maestro had to salute the Top 10 for the first time since 2017.
Rafael Nadal: "I want Djokovic in as many tournaments as possible"
After the Federal Court ruling, Novak Djokovic left Australia and reached Belgrade.
The Serbian champion, for the moment, has decided not to publicly talk about the affair that has involved him in the last few weeks and to spend time with his family. The latest statements released by Djokovic remain those reported by The Age newspaper a few hours after the cancellation of the visa.
"I would like to make a brief statement to address the court decision. Now I will take some time to rest and recover before commenting on everything better. I am extremely disappointed with the decision made. This means that I will not be able to stay in the country and therefore I will miss the Australian Open 2022.
It annoys me that the focus of the last few weeks has been on me and I hope that now we can all focus on the matches and watch an event that I really love. I wish all the best to the players, tournament officials, all staff, volunteers and fans.
I also wish the best of the competition itself. Finally, I would like to thank all my family, friends, team, Serbian fans and friends who have never stopped encouraging me in the last few days. All of you have been a great source of strength for me in these very difficult times." Interview by Onda Cero at the end of the match won against Yannick Hanfmann, Rafael Nadal returned to express his opinion on the affair.
"I've always said that I respect everyone's opinion. The opinions that Djokovic and I have on vaccines are very different. The numbers tell us that many people have died as a result of the pandemic. It is true that the vaccine arrived much faster than expected and I understand that there are people who have doubts.
We still don't know 100%. However, we know very well the effects that the virus has on people. If we hadn't been vaccinated, the death toll would have been higher. I try to follow people who are prepared on this issue. I want Djokovic to participate in as many tournaments as possible, because I like to see the best and Nole is one of them."