Roger Federer has reportedly vowed to return to Wimbledon in 2021 after this year’s grand slam was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For the first time in its nearly century-and-a-half history, Wimbledon was cancelled for a reason other than war as it became the latest major sporting event in 2020 to fall victim of coronavirus crisis.
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Eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer spoke for many tennis players, officials and fans with a one-word message on Twitter: “Devastated.”
The Swiss Maestro will be nearing 40 by the time Wimbledon rolls around in 2021, leaving many fans and commentators to ponder whether we’ve seen the last of Federer at the All England Club.
However he appeared to ease those fears later on Thursday.
“I can’t wait to come back next year,” Federer said, according to The Sun.
“It only makes us appreciate our sport even more during these times.”
Woodbridge fears Federer’s days numbered
Battling Father Time, an opponent no athlete has ever conquered, Federer now also faces the prospect of the coronavirus-enforced layoff ending his days as a genuine grand slam force.
The winner of an all-time-best 20 men's singles majors, Federer will be a month shy of his 40th birthday if and when he returns for another crack at a ninth Wimbledon crown in 2021.
“The question that Roger will have to ask himself is how motivated is he to come back for another year?,” Todd Woodbridge told AAP on Thursday.
“Or has this actually helped him?
“But the less match play that you get in this period at that age, it's so much harder to come back and recover once you start again.
“So I really think that post-2020 will be a new era of people trying to create records because it'll have really have broken up a great period in tennis.
“It has stopped the potential, I think, of Federer winning one or two more. It becomes very highly unlikely for him."
Woodbridge, a nine-times Wimbledon doubles champion and singles semi-finalist, also suspects the coronavirus shutdown will be a game changer for tennis.
He can't see the big three of Federer, 33-year-old Rafael Nadal (19 slams) and 32-year-old Novak Djokovic (16) continuing to rule as they have for the past decade-and-a-half.
“Because of the uncertainty, it makes it hard to see how the three can dominate when they come back because of the age of Roger and Rafa," Woodbridge said.
“It also puts more pressure on Rafa and it changes all of those storylines that were on the table for 2020.
“For Novak, it may come at a good time in his career to actually rejuvenate him again, give him another big burst.
“So if anything, this period helps him the most.”