• According to Nicola Pietrangeli, Roger Federer should hang up his racket while he is still at the top of his game.
  • Federer, who will turn 40 next year, has prompted questions about his retirement after announcing another injury layoff.

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Modified 12 Jun 2020, 02:45 IST

Is it time for Roger Federer to stop playing tennis already?
Is it time for Roger Federer to stop playing tennis already?

Roger Federer hasn’t been a very injury-prone player for most of his career, which is why his recent announcement is deeply troubling for his fans. The 38-year-old took to Twitter yesterday to announce that he has had to undergo a second arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and as a result, would have to sit out the remainder of the 2020 season.

Upon hearing this unfortunate news, two-time French Open champion Nicola Pietrangeli said that it might be time for Federer to finally retire.

Former two-time French Open champion Nicola Pietrangeli
Former two-time French Open champion Nicola Pietrangeli

The 86-year-old Nicola Pietrangeli is one of the biggest legends in Italian tennis, having captured the Roland Garros title in 1959 and 1960. Speaking to AGI, the former champion candidly suggested that it would be good for Roger Federer to go out his “head held high”.

“I don’t understand what else he has to prove again,” Pietrangeli said. “Roger Federer is the one who has won the most, has earned a lot, maybe it’s time to stop. He would come out with his head held high, from number four in the world.”

Even before the pandemic had set in and brought the tennis tour to a halt, Roger Federer had announced he would be giving the claycourt season a miss due to his knee troubles. Having undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, Federer had expressed hope of making a comeback during the grasscourt swing.

However, in a recent interview with Swiss TV, Roger Federer’s long-time coach Severin Luthi had revealed that the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s recovery wasn’t going as well as expected. Not long after that, Federer himself announced that he had gone under the knife again.

Nicola Pietrangeli, who himself retired at the age of 40, is unsure whether Roger Federer’s decision to return in 2021 is the best one. The Italian said there is no guarantee of whether the Swiss will be able to move freely upon his return, and any deficiency in that area could rob him of his productivity.

“If and when he returns to the field he will not be able to run and play as before, he is likely to retire…Because touch and experience will not be enough, he will probably begin to lose a lot and whoever beats him will say he defeated the champion and not Federer with a sore knee,” Pietrangeli said. 

That said, the Italian also confessed that the day Federer does announce his inevitable retirement, will be a sad day for everyone.

“If I can no longer see Roger on the field I will be sorry,” Pietrangeli said.

Roger Federer and his recurring knee troubles

Roger Federer made a stunning comeback from injury by winning the Australian Open 2017
Roger Federer made a stunning comeback from injury by winning the Australian Open 2017

This isn’t the first time that Roger Federer has had to take a break from tennis owing to knee problems; in fact, 2016 saw a very similar story unfold. On that occasion, Federer’s injury was caused due to a minor accident he had while preparing a bath for his kids.

In a career spanning over two decades, 2016 was the first time the Swiss great took a six-month hiatus. But he scripted a fairytale comeback after returning, going on to collect the Australian Open and Wimbledon trophies in 2017.

Nicola Pietrangeli mentioned that if all does go well and Roger Federer gets his knee in shape again, there could well be a different outcome too.

“I would not be surprised to see him win again in 2021 because his talent, in all the past years, allowed him to run and tire much less than the others. When a match ends, he rarely gets sweaty, (he) is much younger than his age,” Pietrangeli assessed.

Published 12 Jun 2020, 02:45 IST

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