Federer’s career may near end after latest knee surgery

Ryan Zheng and Pavan Pandurangi

After a long and grueling 2019 season, tennis phenom Roger Federer has decided that he will be sitting out of the next few competitions of the 2020 season. Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, announced on Feb. 20 that he had undergone knee surgery and has chosen to take a rest. 

Federer described the nature of his injury and contemplated the future of his career in a post on social media.

After the procedure, the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery,” Federer said. 

He then went on to list the many tournaments he will be missing, which includes Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, and an exhibition match in Colombia. He will also be missing the French Open in June, an event that he has also decided to sit out in previous years. Federer is expected to return for Wimbledon in July.

Over his illustrious career, Federer has accumulated numerous accolades, including being the only man to hold the #1 ATP rank for over 300 weeks and having the most number of ATP Finals titles. However, Federer is still yet to win an Olympic gold medal for the Men’s Singles event; his knee injury may be a leading factor that stops him from attaining this one title that has eluded him throughout his 22-year career.

With this new update and a long list of missed tournaments, fans of the tennis giant are right to wonder whether Roger’s career is coming to an end. Back in 2016, when Federer was closing in on 35 years of age, many followers announced that they believed he would be retiring, but after a riveting win in the 2017 Australian Open, the rumors were quieted and Federer was once again at the top of his game. Over the course of the 2017 season, Federer picked up a title at Indian Wells and Miami, earning him the privileged Sunshine Double. After taking the clay-court season off, Federer stormed through the grass-court season with victories in Halle and London, where he triumphed over Marin Cilic to gain his eighth Wimbledon title. He won the Australian Open once again in 2018 by subduing Cilic in the final and proved to the world that even at such an old age, he could still bring the best of his game. 

But this case is different. Federer has not won a grand slam since 2018, and his ranking is slipping. With incoming phenoms like Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, Federer is beginning to lose his ground in the larger tournaments.  At 38, he is beginning to succumb to the challenges of aging and has reported numerous injuries in addition to this most recent knee injury. These effects have been highlighted time and time again in recent grand slam matches, such as his near-losses against John Milman and Tennys Sandgren in the 2020 Australian Open. Despite this, sources say that Federer has long dismissed any retirement claims and will attempt a return to the top, starting with the 2020 grass season. 

With rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic slowly catching up to Federer in terms of his grand slam count (19 and 17, respectively), Federer hopes to increase these slim margins at Wimbledon in July, where he must prove to the world that he still has what it takes to take on the best of the game.