Roger Federer faces a “reality check” when he returns to the Tour after a lengthy injury hiatus, said seven-time major-champion Mats Wilander.
Federer, 40, told Swiss media last week that he was unlikely to return to competition before mid-2022, as he appears to be returning to full fitness after several knee surgeries and would be “extremely surprised” “, if he was able to play at Wimbledon.
Federer, who is tied with Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic on 20 Grand Slam singles titles, said he would be able to resume running in January and return to training on the track in March or April.
“I think it’s possible for him to come back,” Wilander told Eurosport. “I think if he keeps saying it himself, he obviously has thoughts of coming back.
“I think the biggest problem for me is that these guys are getting really, really good. (Alexander) Zverev and (Daniil) Medvedev are the guys pushing backwards, they play big games of tennis.
“And of course Federer has his serve, but how big a weapon is a Roger Federer serve compared to let’s say a Zverev or Medvedev serve? I think it will be reality checked.”
Federer had two knee surgeries in 2020 that kept him out of the Tour for more than a year and returned to action in March, but only managed to play 13 games this year.
Another injury at Wimbledon forced Federer, who won his last major at the 2018 Australian Open, to skip the US Open when he went under the knife again.
“I don’t think Roger Federer will play too many games on the Tour,” Wilander said.
“He realizes he still has a chance to win – maybe not a Grand Slam, maybe not a final – but three or four matches. I think it’s worth it for him to get back in his own mind.
“I do not think he will know until he steps on the field for at least a two- or three-set match against people like Zverev and Medvedev.”
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