Roger Federer drops retirement hint in awards speech

Roger Federer’s speech at the Switzerland Sport Awards is sending shockwaves across the tennis world after an alarming admission his body may deny him a return in 2021.

Federer is pressing on with a focus on returning to tennis for a final run at Wimbledon and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics — but admits he may have already played his last match.

It throws into doubt his plans to play the 2021 Australian Open as he continues to recover from an ongoing knee injury.

During his acceptance speech after being named Switzerland’s greatest athlete of the past 70 years, Federer said the award would be an “incredible” way to end his career if it turns out that way.

“I hope that in 2021 I will return to the courts. We will see,” he said.

“But if my career had to end here, well it would be incredible to end it with this award.”

The 39-year-old underwent knee surgery in February that kept him out of the clay court season and he eventually announced in June further complications had ruled him out for the rest of 2020.

Even now he admits he is far from 100 per cent fit, despite doing everything in his power to return to his best.

The end is near.Source:AFP

“I didn’t have any setbacks since the second operation. I’ve made constant progress over the last six months,” he said.

“I wish I was more ready but at the same time I’m happy where I stand. We had a plan and decided to take as much time as we need… I’m still not at 100 per cent.”

Federer singled out the Australian Open, admitting he is in a race against time for the event, scheduled to begin on February 8.

“It’s a race against time for the Australian Open, we will see,” he said.
“I’m curious to see whether it will start on February 8. Of course it would help if I had a bit more time.

“I would have hoped that I would be 100 per cent in October. But I am still not today. It will be tight for the Australian Open.”

His speech left tennis commentators fearing the end is coming sooner rather than later.

Oh… wow. https://t.co/H6Qwr5tnv9

Not sure, how serious he was. But @rogerfederer ends with the words: "I hope there is still something to see from me next year. But if that was it, that would have been an incredible ending for me at these Sports Awards." Personally, I am sure he'll do everything to be @wimbledon

Roger Federer receiving the award as best athlete of last 70 years, has also hinted there is the option he could not be back on court:

“I hope to be back on 2021, but if won’t be possible then finishing with this award will be fantastic”

Federer has played in 22 consecutive Australian Opens. If he does make it to Australia in 2021 it will be without his family as a result of the strict biosecurity protocols and mandatory quarantine all players, staff and officials will undergo when arriving from overseas.

Federer said in July he suffered a “setback” during the rehabilitation from his initial arthroscopic surgery, and would subsequently not return to the court until 2021.

“A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure on my right knee,” Federer posted to Twitter at the time.

“Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100 per cent ready to play at my highest level.

“I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly, but I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.”

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