Federer on Alcaraz v Sinner, Djokovic’s knee and the next wave of men’s tennis

The Swiss maestro is making the rounds at Wimbledon this week, and giving his take on the future of men’s tennis.

Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2023 Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2023 – © Chryslene Caillaud / Panoramic

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is back on the grounds at SW19 this week, and the Swiss maestro spent some time at the ESPN interview desk talking about the current state of men’s tennis.

The 20-time major champion, who retired in 2022 after two decades of captivating tennis, says not to worry: the men’s game is in great shape.

“The guys are doing so well,” Federer told ESPN’s Chris McKendry in an interview. “Alcaraz at the French Open was fantastic, his win here last year against Novak Djokovic was incredible in that five-setter.”

Federer, who last played at Wimbledon in 2021, when he fell to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals, knows a thing or two about facing Djokovic at Wimbledon. He might have had an even more glimmering Wimbledon CV had he not had to deal with the man who dominated the 2010’s so often on Centre Court. Federer lost three finals to the legendary Serbian, in 2014, 2015 and 2019, and defeated him only once at Wimbledon, in the semi-finals in 2012.

“I’ve played Novak here, I know how hard he is to beat,” the Swiss said. “So for Alcaraz to do it was incredible. Then (Jannik) Sinner how his progression has been the last couple of years, I like it a lot. So I see that continuing, which is gonna mean that both are gonna meet each other so many times it’s gonna be a great rivalry.”

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer during the Centre Court centenary celebrations (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

The next wave

Federer sees the shape of men’s tennis changing every five years. He says that today’s rising stars will benefit tremendously from sharing the court with Rafael Nadal and Djokovic as the two legends also wind down their careers. And they owe it to the longevity of the Big 3, who have changed what we believe is possible for men’s tennis players beyond the age of 30.

“Every five years you get another wave of players coming through,” Federer said. “That’s why I think it’s wonderful for Rafa, Novak and Andy still playing on Tour because it gives the younger generation a chance to play against these players multiple times. Because if everyone retired at 30, we will not have that happen.”

Federer also commented on Djokovic’s remarkable resiliency, and says he is anxious to see if the 24-time major champion can add to his record number of major titles so soon after his recent knee surgery.

“Novak is amazing that he’s bounced back. Incredible effort for him after the surgery to come back and be playing. It will be very interesting to see how he bounces back against his three-hour match yesterday.”

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