With the 2021 tennis season behind us and only 42 days until the first tournament of the 2022 season – 55 if you count the Australian Open as “the first” of the year – and forward-thinking is the topic. What should you expect heading into next season? Rafael Nadal will be returning, can Novak Djokovic make another Grand Slam run, will Aryna Sabalenka finally win a Slam, and of course, when will Roger Federer return?
Arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, Federer has had a series of down years in what you can only assume is the twilight of an incredible career on the court. In March, Federer made his long-awaited return to tennis and did not look like the Federer the tennis universe remembered. He was slower, less efficient winning the first set and in deciders. What could you expect from a 40-year old tennis player coming off two knee surgeries? Surely you wouldn’t expect another knee injury during the grass-court season, forcing the Swiss superstar out of action yet again.
“It was a tough process to take that decision, just because I already had a couple of knee surgeries last year. I was really unhappy with how things went at Wimbledon. I was just nowhere near where I wanted to be to play at the top, top level. But I tried my best, and at the end, at some point, too much is too much. Now I’ve just got to take it step by step,” Federer said of the decision to get his third knee surgery.
Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick was recently on Tennis Channel, and the topic of what the future holds in store for Federer came up. “Unfortunately, I don’t think the days of Roger winning Grand Slams are still here. I’d love to be proved wrong, but that’s seriously an uphill battle,” Roddick said. “It’s very realistic about his chances. He has talked about maybe not even playing until 2023. So we will see. We will have our fingers crossed for him. and hope that we get to see him very competitively next season,” Jim Courier said in agreement to Roddick.
Federer has stated that he is in a good place and will not rush to return to tennis until he is fully healthy, as he also has his life after tennis in mind. “This is also for my life. I want to make sure I can do everything I want to do later on. There’s no rush with anything, so I’m actually in a really good place. I think the worst is behind me. I’m really happy,” Federer said to Courier in September at the Laver Cup in Boston.
Hints of a return at Wimbledon, Federer’s most dominant court have surfaced – as they usually do – however, there is no guarantee, as only Federer knows what his future holds. The ATP tour and tennis fans worldwide can only hope to see one last run from the 20-time Grand Slam winner before he calls it a career.