When the time does eventually come Roger Federer calls it a day and no longer returns to SW19 for the annual playing of Wimbledon, the sporting world will have a genuine reason to go into mourning. The 39-year-old Swiss legend is one the greatest tennis players of all time but certainly the most accomplished Wimbledon champion in the history of the competition.
Incredibly, despite being a month away from his 40th birthday, the Wimbledon 2021 men’s betting odds show Federer as the favouite behind Novak Djokovic to win the tournament. In reality, that is nothing short of astonishing and shows what an evergreen champion Federer has been.
Indeed, as unsettling as it is to watch a great of the game arrive at the twilight of their career, there is very good reason to believe that Federer has mileage left in his legs still. Anyone who has watched him perform over the last two weeks at Wimbledon would have had to pinch themselves on more than a few occasions given how easily he has dispatched those ten years younger than him.
That may be doing Federer an injustice actually as he beat Lorenzo Sonego who is 26 to reach the quarter-finals. That is an age difference of 13 years and Federer was astonishingly able to do it in straight sets as well. What more can you say about the man?
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2021
His movement was faultless as he glided over the turf at Centre Court to the frustration of Sonego, who huffed and puffed. The Italian looked at his box with an incredulous expression and despite trying to unnerve Federer with booming serves that were accompanied by a graceless grunt, Federer was able to slide into position and send back a return that an 18-year-old version of himself would have been proud of.
Of course, Federer’s masterclass against Sonego wasn’t the first time he had pulverised a younger opponent after 25-year-old Cameron Norrie got the same treatment in the third round of the 2021 Wimbledon championship. This time the age gap was 14 years but it didn’t stop Federer from making Norris look like he had cement blocks tied to his feet.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) July 5, 2021
It would be fascinating to be able to tap into the thoughts of these young men whilst they’re being comprehensively outplayed by a man who will celebrate his 40th birthday on the 8th of August. You can only imagine the feeling of disbelief of what is unfolding and to the remarkable degree, it is doing so.
For the rest of us who are spared being thoroughly beaten by Federer, whether we’re at Centre Court or watching on from the comfort of home, it is important to drink in every shot that the Swiss icon plays from here on in.
Indeed, one day he won’t be there anymore and tennis will return to being a sport slightly less spectacular. So don’t take your eyes off this phenomenal athlete and an extraordinary ambassador for the game of tennis because the day gets closer with every sensational forehand that he executes, even if it doesn’t feel like it.