It’s a sad year for Federer fans so far. Since the post-Australian Open knee injury, the Swiss maestro has only played three matches. He pulled out of Indian Wells, couldn’t play Miami Open due to a stomach virus and yesterday he withdrew from Madrid Masters due to a back injury.
This is what he said about his current state of affairs: “Right now I think I’m in the part of my season [where] at first I need to make sure I’m 100 percent. If it’s better for me to train for a week I’ll do that over chasing No. 1, which honestly is less important to me.”
In an interview with Nina Pantic, he said he’s not all too unhappy about his time away from the courts: “It’s not like I couldn’t handle it anymore, scratching the walls and stuff, wanting to go back on tour right away, but it was an interesting process,” he admitted. “In a funny way I enjoyed it. I was home for four-and-a-half weeks with the kids. They were skiing, they loved every minute about it. I loved just being back in my home for so long.”
Does this mean his hunger for titles is waning?
“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said. “I spoke to [Stefan] Edberg, and he announced at the beginning of the season and played the entire season somewhat like a Kobe [Bryant] thing, but Edberg’s was 12 months basically—by the end of it he was just exhausted. I honestly don’t know what it’s going to be for me. I just hope my body’s not going to call it.”
Federer has always been impeccable with his schedule and it seems unlikely that his body is the thing that will make him put his RF97A on the shelf. However, age does make it more injury prone and I personally believe that he’s doing the right thing by playing it safe. If this means he can go on for two more years or so, I think his millions of fans agree.
Will we see Federer at the Italian Open in Rome? He says so, but it’s obviously hard to know for sure. Federer never misses a slam and I’m sure he needs a few more matches before the gruelling clay of Roland Garros, but if playing in Rome is a risk, he’s not going to do it. I think he understands that the grand slam that he’s least likely to win is the French Open and the one he’s most likely to win is Wimbledon, so he has to choose his preparation wisely.
Let’s all cross our fingers to see him back at a hundred percent soon.