Roger Federer

Federer Not Yet Practicing; Thinks The Return of Tennis is a ‘Long Way Off’

The Swiss was speaking to Gustavo Kuerten via video call

Like the vast majority of Europe, Roger Federer has been living under the policy of quarantine the healthy, endanger the vulnerable for the last three months, and aside from a couple of appearances on Instagram and Twitter, it's all been very quiet from the Swiss.

However, the 20 time Grand Slam champion gave his first interview of sorts since February when he took part in a live video call with former French Open Champion, Gustavo Kuerten.

The call was part of Guga's charitable campaign called “Winning Together”, which is collecting funds for Brazil during the COVID 19 pandemic and the pair discussed several topics.

You can watch the twenty-minute video of their chat below.

Roger Federer's Video Call

Federer Reveals He's Not Yet Practising

Federer Wall

I'm not practising at the moment, I don't see a reason to be honest because I'm happy to also heal the body and I feel like the tour is still very far away. It's important for my mind to catch a break after playing so much tennis. Federer on his decision not to practice yet

Amongst several other little tidbits of information as the two reminisced about some of their matches together, Federer revealed that he's not yet practising as he doesn't see the end goal.

Given the lack of news surrounding a restart of the tour and many fans still under the impression that leaving the house results in certain death, it's difficult to argue with his stance that competitive tennis with full crowds seems a long way off.

Other than keeping in shape and honing some skills, a gruelling practice regime seems rather futile without a restart date.

The Swiss showed in 2016 that tennis isn't a particularly perishable skill. Hence, maintaining general fitness and ensuring his knee is back to 100% looks the more viable option as of right now.

It does, however, raise the question of just how ready for Wimbledon Federer would have been after his knee surgery in March.

Rather than rushing back for the grass, this extended layoff has given him several weeks more healing time ahead of what will presumably competitive tennis sometime in August.

Although the Swiss was less than enthusiastic about the idea of playing behind closed doors:

For us, of course, it is possible to play if there are no fans. But on the other hand, I really hope that the circuit can return as it normally is. And hold off till the time is appropriate, minimum a third of the stadium or half full. But, for me, completely empty when playing big tournaments is very difficult. Federer on playing behind closed doors.

When do you guys think the tour will return? If ever? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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45 Comments

    1. Yeah, it looks as though this break hasn’t made much difference for him though, from what Djoker said and how he’s phrasing stuff, his knee is not ready for competitive tennis.

      1. That’s worrying.
        It’s been more than 3 months, if his knee is still hurting while he’s not even training it could mean the operation wasn’t a success like they said.

  1. I think there’s a chance his usual positive attitude will get beneficial effects out of it. One way or another, and which, is a very exciting question…

  2. Well, I think it will return. It will probably take longer than we anticipate. It may be in stages with no fans and then stadiums at half capacity with people wearing masks. Not for sure how we get to normal and maybe not until 2022. So Fed may be playing at 40 and still on top due to the covid-gap!

      1. Hahah I don’t envy the cleaning team that has to go through the stands at the end of play to dispose of all the masks and gloves that the great unwashed leave behind.

  3. I’m Ok with masks since I have spent a good deal of my adult life in Asia. But I would take it off to drink beer!

    1. Yeah, I guess they are common over there. I see them as a new mark of oppression. The science on them is murky at best anyway. Just a case of people and organisations wanting to ‘be seen’ as doing something.

    1. They are to stop you infecting someone else rather than getting infected though? I suppose you might feel safer knowing you’re not infecting others, but where do you draw the line, you could be carrying a number of airborne viruses asymptomatically so maybe they should be permanent. Or stitched on.

  4. To this end, Djokovic is organizing his exhibition tour on clay, the president of the French Federation of Tennis is positive about having some public for the RG, seems like UO is a hot topic for discussions in tennis (as Nole said, they discussed it among the big 3, and also Guy Forget testified that it is more likely to have RG than US), so I have the feeling the season could indeed restart from the clay.
    Especially as (per Ubitennis source) UO should definitely survive one year without the tournament, and the general feeling (not mine) about the city nowadays is similar to a wasteland…
    If my impression is right, it means we start back in September. 3 months are way too long for Roger not to be healthy and trained. So I am not too afraid by his lack of tennis, especially after seeing 2017 (as you also correctly reminded)

    1. Yeah US Open unlikely, it will probably get political. Trump might say he would love to see it played, then the mayor and governors say he’s risking lives for tennis!

      1. I have the same feeling, sadly. Plus, Trump showing not exactly a great interest in the first place for tennis doesn’t sound good (I remember he called for a meeting on how to handle professional sports in US, and tennis wasn’t represented).
        Having Novak, president of the players, organizing an exhibition tour on clay, could seem also like a possible hint that they know they will likely start again from clay.
        I told already I have good feelings, strangely, about the clay season for Roger, but who cares, I just want to see him fit and for him to give us the usual Amazing tennis.

      2. I didn’t know about the game with Serena, I just knew about the meeting of April and he didn’t have any tennis representative.
        Curious about this development. I guess we won’t have to wait more than 2-3 weeks

  5. So good to have Roger’s update, thank you Jonathan. He is recovering in no hurry and enjoying it, so good for him and his family. Cheers everybody!

  6. Main problem of organizing big tournaments seems to be more the question of how to ensure, every player involved (qualifications included) has a real possibility to come and play. Lot of countries are involved. Epidemic (whatever we think about it – do we really have a pandemic or it’s nothing more than a seasonal flu, but flu is not that attractive for media and politics) is not in the same stage all over the world. While China is actually done with it, US or Brazil are just peaking.
    How can they ensure players from all affected countries to be able to travel to US or Paris or anywhere else?
    May they should move all big tournaments to the Moon? 😉
    I don’t expect any ATP tournament to be played 2021.
    This situation can last longer with new waves and a timely offsets between different countries.
    Just lik some new formula is starting here and there (Austrian Pro Series in full format (no Fast4 or something) but only Thiem from the top, but then Adria Tour with Djokovic, Thiem, Zverev and Dimitrov – why not Federer, should he be ready with his rehab and some practicing?).
    But big tennis nations (France, Italy, Spain, UK, Germany) are the most affected by lockdowns . I guess, they will start with local tournaments – esp. Spain and Italy have a lot of top players each. Maybe ATP finds the way to include such tournaments in the calendar and ranking?. Or at first forget the ranking – but start again with quite normal prize money, trophies and of course some crowd – maybe wearing masks only on the way to the seats, but then some sensible distance between neighbors – 1/2 or 1/3 of sets could be reasonable.
    Or maybe not the Moon, but China, because this will be for sure first nation to be 100% vaccinated . With 100% vaccinated or other otherwise CV-free certified , including fans from abroad with CV-free-certificates even indoors tournaments would be possible.
    There are some possibilities to restart the tour without waiting until the virus disappears (which may never happen, lik flu or HIV).

  7. I hope the tour restarts in 2021, it’s pointless to have some tournaments here and there and distorting the rankings.

    1. What’s worth more for you – rankings or tennis?
      2021 is not a magic number. No guarantee for Australian Open or any other tournament until the vaccine is available for everyone worldwide. Should the pause last too long, many will have to retire or the whole Tour will need to start from scratch, with everyone older by 1-2 years, but without possibility to develeop tennis skills and practice under competition. In this case pro tennis in the current fashion is dead for ever.

      1. I prefer to start the tour like it used to be, instead of playing some random tournaments without crowds and with 14 day quarantine for the players.
        There is no point in playing the Grand Slams without the tour.

      2. @Alexander
        Well, different opinions. If they do like you wish, you will maybe not see Roger playing anymore. Or only in exhibitions (without crowds).
        I have watched today Thiem playing in an invitation tournament in Austria. It was filed so professionally, you would not guess, there is no crowd, no ballkids a.s.o. No people screaming (that’s the main way fan demonstrate their presence out there.
        Next Djokovic’s invitation tournament (Adria Tour) will be played, featuring: Djokovic, Thiem, Zverev, Cilic, Coric andf some others. Not that bad. Would like to see Roger there, probably possible ion terms of epidemic) , but I guess Roger is not ready to play first of all from other reasons (injury, missing practice).
        Well, what will happen, will happen, no matter wehat we like or prefer. You watch, if you Like of you don’t.
        Best
        PRF

  8. Hi Jonathan & everyone

    While it is understandable that the no. of posts and the comments have dwindled because of the peculiar times that we live in, to liven it up, can you or one of the regulars here run a series on the following lines ‘Best 8 of the Rivalries’ or something like that?

    8 of the best matches in the rivalry
    1) RF vs Nadal (40 played)
    2) RF vs Djokovic (50 played)
    3) Best vs Rest (this could be broken into 2 decades)

    I feel it will get interesting. What do you think?
    Stay safe, stay healthy all

    1. Top 10 Rivalries:
      Agassi, Hewitt, Roddick, Nalbandian, Berdych, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro and Wawrinka.

  9. I’m writing it only because of some important aspects of tournaments without crowds, ball kids, line judges and everything. No big screens s, fan cameras a.s.o. No towels (!!!)
    Only 2 players, chair umpire, coaches, eventually some other officials. And the TV camera operator. Plus 2 commentators in a studio.
    They play an intense 3-setter, including collecting balls.
    I’m not missing the crowds at all. I thought, it would be an important deficit for the players. But they were motivated, focused and behaving like in a “normal” match, but more focused on the game itself.
    I liked it. The matches are really battles.
    The player field is not usual. Only Austrians. You know – there is Thiem and the next is Dennis Novak (ranked about 100.) plus oldie Jürgen Melzer and some youngsters.
    Today Thiem lost first set and was in trouble, so emotions were there too (for his fans at TV/PC.
    I don’t know, how Adria Tour will look like. It will be Fast4 format. But quite a strong player field. And probably there will be some crowds allowed (Corona-compliant).
    The problem would be screaming loud (will probably not be allowed, like in just starting soccer leagues.
    So what’s really the difference – with or without the crowds?
    Less show, more tennis. What if we decide to skip some show-aspects even after there are no Corona-limitations?
    Maybe clapping as the only way of applauding could be enough (like it was 50 years ago in Davis Cup, in other competition formats). I liked it 50 years ago. I would like it again. Smaller arenas, no screaming, no towels, no ballkids, no big screens a.s.o. Only tennis. Classic.

  10. They say US Open is not yet cancelled and some special solutions are being considered, like special chartered flights for every region affected (2 or 3 from Europe, another from Asia a.s.o.), Players coming only with a coach (no physios, USO would offer own physios to everyone). No fans or only some minor number, depending on pandemic situation at the time of the tournament.
    At this time there are no plans to go to Indian Wells or Orlando instead of Flushing Meadows.
    But this all with more questions than answers.
    Additionally nobody knows, how long the current unrest will last and what an impact in can have on pandemic.
    Chances for RG in September are a lot better.

  11. In July an invitation tournament on grass should be played in Berlin. Confirmed are Thiem. Zverev and Kyrgios. They expect Federer to accept invitation.

  12. Hey guys, what’s up?? How are you guys holding up?? I have worked almost 3 months from home and…. I still have 3 more months to go… I think many of you have that too right?? It is nice to work from home, but it gets too quiet 🙂

    To be honest, I don’t want Roger to play that exho… he will get bad publicity no matter what. It seems like he gets blamed every day for something new 🙂 No, let him rest, spend some time with the family, then practise and play when the tour starts… hopefully somewhere in September.

    I miss Roger soooooo much and I miss Seve 🙂

    Hope you guys are happy and healthy. Please be aware of the kilos you put on… I did 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Don’t know, what should be the reason for Fed to not play at least one time this year on grass. Of course he will decide and we will get to know 🙂
      Why should he be blamed for this? And what are things he gets blamed every day???

      USO is still not cancelled, but the situation in US is now worse because of unrest. If USO i´gets cancelled, most probably the only GS to be played this year will be RG. Hope, Roger will participate. They say, they will not play RG without fans (even if probably not full house because of social distancing).

      I’m now watching Austrian-only tournament, where finalists will have played 7 matches with few free days. The field is weak, but still the possibility to play competitive matches after so long pause. Should the season start with USO or RG, we may have a lot of tennis before Milan I(or it’s still London this year?).

      1. Torino, actually. But this is gonna be last year in London.
        Anyway, hearing Rafa and Nole very skeptical about NY strengthens my claim, that I was doing a few days ago commenting this article, that also the US Open won’t be played and we will start back with the clay season

      2. @Alfonso,
        Of course, Torino – my mistake 🙁
        With some big organizational effort, every Grand Slam could be played. Of course not under normal conditions. New York or Paris are both hard hit, but both doing well right now. I mean pandemic, in the US there is of course an additional problem. But maybe just playing it, would be a due signal from the pro tennis field.
        I guess, to get most or all top players participating would not ber a problem.

      3. Actually I think Paris is doing nowadays a lot better than US, and the protocols that were presented by the americans were heavily criticized by Nole, and Rafa as well was skeptical about traveling there.
        I don’t know, but I actually have the feeling that the US Open are much more in jeopardy than RG.
        And Yesterday Severin Luthi stated that Roger’s recovery is going very slow, so I would hope the season restarts just when he is fit 😀

    2. Hi Katyani!
      So nice to hear from you. I’m fine and living in a part of the world with lots of outdoor space. Here, in British Columbia, we were very lucky to be encouraged to be out in the fresh air and exercise.
      I feel the same as Roger. I don’t think the tour will in full swing for quite a while. Unless all the players are able to move around the world, how can you officially restart? Is his knee ready for action? Doesn’t sound like it.
      I hear the RF hats are worth some money now?

      1. Roger’s recovery slow. Yikes, that doesn’t sound too good. I don’t see how they can restart the tour at this point in time. If one comes into Canada, you have to quarantine for 2 weeks. How can someone defend their ranking points from Rogers Cup?

  13. Newest concept for US swing. Cincinnati and US Open both to play in New York to minimize flights, coming with chartered flights from abroad with minimal teams . Both with no fans. But until middle of August the pandemic situation could look good enough to allow limited numer of fans. New York was hit hard with Corona but than doing well (not trump-like), so there is a chance, New York is alive and safe in August.
    Yes, I know, you all would not like it (chance for another slam for Djokovic or Rafa), but hey … the world cannot stop to play tournaments only because Federer has no more chances to win slams. BTW – why should he have no chance???

  14. Most accomplished sports personalities such as Roger Federer and Lebron James in the NBA have vehemently maintained that they don’t like the idea of playing in empty stadiums. At their level, it would be like an opera singer performing in an empty concert hall.

    I wonder how the lower-ranked players who make a living out of playing tennis feel about it. I have a sense that they may be ready to jump on the courts the first chance they get.

    1. This argument from the lower-ranked players falls to bits instantly though. There won’t be any prize money for them to win as no fans will be watching.

    2. For most tennis players it would be the best news, if USO restarts the season, even with only few or no fans. And of course nobody likes to play in empty stadiums. Federer has the comfort of not really needing money, not have any tournament “mandatory” but also of flying with private jet. Given Federer’s chance to win USO is low, I would understand him to skip it.
      For myself I cannot imagine a Grand Slam to happen without all or most of top players. And of course there are some interested in winning it 🙂

    1. Only a week or so. I will post something soon when I have an idea.

      No holiday, just very busy with work 🙂

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