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Tennis Suffering From Roger Federer’s Continued Absence

With the 2021 Australian Open fast approaching, it’s almost a year since Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer has taken to the court in a Grand Slam event. In Melbourne last year, Federer proved his enduring class by reaching the semi-finals, where he just fell short in defeat to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

Since then, Federer has not appeared at a Grand Slam due to requiring surgery on his right knee. At the age of 39, the Swiss has had to come to terms with the advance of time and the wearing away of his once unimpeachable levels of fitness. In his absence, the sport has suffered, lacking the unique panache this stylish exponent brings to tennis.

Roger Federer
Credit: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Roger Federer Injury Keep Him From Australian Open

Federer will not be present at the Australian Open this year, making it three Grand Slams in a row he has missed, including last year’s US Open and French Open (Wimbledon having been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic). Instead, it’s the likes of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev who make up the list of top favorites in the tennis betting, while Federer attempts to prepare himself for a comeback at some point this year. 

It’s the first time in his career that Federer has missed three Grand Slams in a row, and of course it would have been four had Wimbledon been staged as normal. It’s clear that age has caught up with him somewhat over the last decade. He has won four Grand Slam titles since the start of 2011, which is much lower than the previous ten years of his career, where he would sweep up Grand Slam victories with considerable ease. 

But despite just four titles in that time, Federer is frequently to be found at the latter stages of Grand Slams, which is proof that he is still one of the best players in the world. After all, his game and style of play is one that transcends the advances of time. The grace and flair with which he plays are attributes not dependent on physical prowess in the way that some of his opponents’ qualities are. When Nadal has suffered with injuries in the past, his game has suffered hugely, whereas Federer has always recovered well from injury setbacks, and rarely endures a bedding-in period.

The length of this current injury setback presents a new challenge, however. For Federer, rehabilitating and recovering now at the age of 39 is significantly more difficult than it would have been 10 years ago. The question on everyone’s lips is whether he will still be the player he once was, when he eventually takes to the court again.

Indeed, Federer’s recent absence has presented a sad foreboding of what tennis will be like after he has retired. There are few players who play the game with as much natural flair as the Swiss – simply put, no one has ever made tennis look as beautiful as Federer. That glow which accompanies the 20-time Grand Slam champion has been missed from the game in recent times.

It will be missed too at this year’s Australian Open – a tournament Federer has won six times in the past. A future where Federer no longer graces Melbourne, Flushing Meadows, or the lush grass courts of Wimbledon has been seen in advance over the past several months. For tennis fans all over the world, it’s hoped that once Federer recovers from his surgery, he’ll have at least a few more years playing at the top of the game. 

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