Has Roger Federer’s glorious career come to an end?

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, Roger Federer, has had a largely injury-free career, but all that has changed since 2020. Federer underwent twin surgeries on his troublesome right knee last year and is set to undergo a third one in a few days, bringing an end to his 2021 campaign and putting several question marks on his future.

Over the years, Roger Federer has defied the odds many times in his career. However, on Sunday, even the 40-year-old Swiss legend appeared and sounded disappointed and dejected as he announced a third knee surgery in 18 months.

While announcing the news on Instagram, Federer revealed that he would be on crutches for several weeks and out of the sport for many months.

“I just wanted to give you a bit of an update [on] what’s been going on since Wimbledon. As you can imagine, it’s not been simple. I’ve been doing a lot of checks with the doctors as well on my knee, getting all the information as I hurt myself further during the grass-court season and Wimbledon”, Federer said.

“That’s just not the way to go forward, so unfortunately they told me for the medium to long term to feel better, I will need surgery. I decided to do it”, he added. 

“I’ll be on crutches for many weeks and also out of the game for many months, so it’s going to be difficult of course in some ways, but at the same time I know it’s the right thing to do because I want to be healthy, I want to be running around later as well again and I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form”.

“I am realistic, don’t get me wrong. I know how difficult it is at this age right now to do another surgery and try it”, Federer said.

“But I want to be healthy, I will go through the rehab process I think also with a goal while I’m still active, which I think is going to help me during this long period of time”, he concluded.

Federer is set to miss the upcoming US Open and the remainder of the 2021 season. The former World No. 1 explained his decision to undergo a third surgery, saying the procedure gives him ” a glimmer of hope” to make a return to the men’s circuit.

Although Federer has fended off retirement and innumerable questions about when he will hang his boots for almost a decade, his sudden announcement during the weekend escalated those questions further, especially after he turned 40 on 8 August.

The Basel native, who had an operation on his right knee in February and May 2020, played only five tournaments after undergoing those surgeries, and barely managed to win a series of matches in a tournament, let alone a Grand Slam.

The last time he competed was at Wimbledon in July, which ended in a shock 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 defeat to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals.

The manner of Federer’s Wimbledon loss almost instantly led to retirement rumours, before Federer rubbished them off.

But his continuing struggles with his knee have made both pundits and fans quite pessimistic about his future.

As Federer made the disclosure about his knee, a number of his supporters, former players, and renowned tennis journalists claimed that this is the end of Roger Federer.

While former Spanish player Nicolás Pereira argued in favour of his return to action because Federer deserves a grand farewell, America’s Mardy Fish, who was once ranked in the top-10, believes Federer should go out on his own terms.

On the other hand, tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey, who has written a book about Federer’s glorious career, wasn’t too optimistic about his comeback.

“For now, Federer, one of the greatest athletes of this or any era, does not intend to retire, but after turning 40 last Sunday and after two operations on his right knee in 2020, he is well aware that the odds are heavily against him”, Clarey stated on Monday.

“Federer must solve a more complex equation if he is to chase a more appropriate endgame than a lopsided defeat at Wimbledon”, he added. 

Meanwhile, tennis commentator David Law suggested that Federer has played his last match and he will never be back on a tennis court.

Federer’s admirers also agreed with the view of the experts as a few of them took to social media to salute his great career and the countless memories of joy and happiness he has given them over the years.

But this is not the first time Federer has been written off. In 2013, when such a thing was being suggested about him, he reinvigorated himself by changing the frame of his racquet from 90 to 97 cm.

Federer made a return from a lengthy layoff in 2017, and immediately won the Australian Open in dramatic fashion against his arch-rival Rafael Nadal.

The Swiss eventually became the oldest world No. 1 in men’s tennis before winning his eighth title to break Pete Sampras’ longstanding record of seven trophies at Wimbledon.

Despite his tendency to find a way out of a messy situation, Federer’s chances of making a successful comeback next year look bleak. It remains to be seen whether he will ever return to the court, but the big question everyone is asking – does Federer’s career deserve such a tame ending?

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