Your eyes do not deceive you – Roger Federer is injured.
The 34-year-old Swiss tennis star underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. As a result, Roger has pulled out of Rotterdam and Dubai, hoping to be fully ready for Roland Garros. The question remains – can an aging star still compete after invasive surgery on his knee? Look no further.
Let’s explore four reasons why Federer will come back from his injury stronger than ever.
2008 is widely known as “the” unsuccessful year for Roger. ALAS, it can be explained. During the Australian Open, Federer was suffering from mononucleosis, where he lost to the eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semis. Symptoms of mono include fever, sore throat, and fatigue – the latter is known to last for months. Does he look tired to you?
The news didn’t break until late in the year, but the illness did not stop Federer from missing a match. He made the FINALS of Monte Carlo, Hamburg, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon – losing to Rafael Nadal each time, and once in spectacular fashion. Once his illness passed, the finals success began to return. He won the Olympic Gold for Men’s Doubles and the US Open Men’s Singles. Even with a serious illness, Roger battled through to a year-end ranking of No. 2. Once again ladies and gentlemen, he made all those finals while he had MONO, which is basically like he was Sleepy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. That is ridiculous.
At the end of the year, he suffered a back injury that has been recurring throughout his career.
2013 back injury
Federer’s back gave out at Indian Wells, in the second round, on a second serve. This one wasn’t like the others. It lingered and lingered and shook the confidence out of his body. He then re-injured it at Hamburg, where Roger himself said “I should have pulled out of the event”.
This was the worst stretch of his career, suffering his worst Grand Slam defeat since 2003, to Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round of Wimbledon. It ended his record of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals, and meant that he dropped out of the top 4 for the first time since July 2003. Talk about a bad few weeks.
But, true to Roger, he got back to work. He rejigged his physical training program and started to experiment with different racquets. The game was changing and he had to change with it. Just like 2008, he came back strong. He won the 2014 Dubai Championships and made the finals of Wimbledon, losing to Novak Djokovic in an epic five-setter. Ever since, he’s been breakin’ hearts and takin’ names – back to world No. 2.
Fabrice Santoro said it best, “He has perfect technique. With good technique, you get fewer injuries.” He glides effortlessly across the court, putting minimal stress on his body, usually without breaking a sweat. If we have learned anything from the past, Roger is going to work hard, recover, and put his injury behind him. Check out his graceful form for yourself:
The ultimate Ironman
Among the iron men of sports, Roger’s name is held alongside the likes of Cal Ripken and Brett Favre. Ripken had 2,632 consecutive baseball games over 16 years as a third basemen and Favre had 321 straight starts as an NFL quarterback.
Federer has always turned up for work. Only pulled out with injury ONCE (!!!) at the ATP World Tour Finals – first time in 1,221 matches. Never sent in a sick note. Never couldn’t be bothered. He has played 65 consecutive Grand Slams – 15 straight years of longevity.
It isn’t just his genes and good fortune, he makes his own luck. He manages his schedule intelligently to avoid burnout. He lives and trains well. Is it nature or nuture? TRICK QUESTION – it’s both. His body has not only survived, but flourished through 15 years of professional tennis. It might not be fair to expect him to come back and win ALL THE TOURNAMENTS, but Roger always stays competitive and it seems unlikely that after such a strong 2015 he would lose much ground.
If there is anyone who can come back stronger after an injury, it’s Roger.