Roger Federer was not 100 per cent when he showed up at the Rod Laver Arena for the big-ticket semifinal against Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open 2020. Apart from playing against ‘one of the best in the business’ (Djokovic), Federer continuously battled with a painful groin muscle that restricted his movement on Thursday. Result, the gritty 38-year-old lost to Serb in straight sets 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-3. Following his Australian Open exit, calls for his retirement has gone up. But, the 20-time Grand Slam champion thinks otherwise, as he still believes he has enough ammunition left in the tank to win ‘a major or two’. Also Read - Australian Open 2021: Novak Djokovic Beats Daniil Medvedev For Record-Extending Ninth Title at Melbourne Park, Wins 18th Grand Slams Title Overall
“Yes, I do believe that,” the World No. 3 said when asked if he was confident about adding to his Grand Slam titles. “I think by having the year that I had last year, also with what I have in my game, how I’m playing, I do feel that, yeah.” Also Read - Australian Open 2021 HIGHLIGHTS FINAL 2021 Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev Live Updates: Djokovic Beats Medvedev in Straight Sets to Win 9th Australian Open Title
In the last season, Federer has shown consistent form reaching French Open semifinal and Wimbledon final, where he eventually lost to Djokovic in an epic five-setter. Also Read - Daniil Medvedev Registers Clinical Win Over Stefanos Tsitsipas to Set up Australian Open Title Clash Against Novak Djokovic
The Swiss maestro believes he can still return to Melbourne in 2021 for a crack at a seventh title. “You never know what the future holds. Especially my age, you don’t know,” he added.
“I’m confident. I’m happy how I’m feeling, to be honest. I got through a good, nice training block. No plans to retire. From that standpoint, we’ll see how the year goes, how everything is with the family. We’ll go from there. Of course, I hope to be back.”
Federer was hampered by a groin injury which had first cropped up during his quarterfinal against Tennys Sandgren during an intense five-set encounter.
Speaking about turning up for the semis clash versus Djokovic, he said: “Well, I thought I was going to make it, to be honest. I went for a scan that same night (after the Sandgren match), was all right.”
“After that, well, we didn’t push it. I didn’t practice. I took a day off the next day. I don’t think I would have gone on the court if I felt like I had no chance to win.”
The Basel-born superstar is, however, is happy with the way the tournament went. Federer has had a tough run in Melbourne, having played two five-setters in the run-up to the semifinal. “At the end of the day I’m very happy. I think I overall played all right. I know I can play better. At the same time I also know I can play much worse. With no tournaments beforehand, I think it’s a very, very good result,” he further added
He intends to get back to training “rather quickly.” Questions related to retirement plans always crop up whenever the 38-year-old bows out of a tournament with an injury concern, especially a Grand Slam. But the world no.3 has no intention to call time on his career, yet.
Federer has never skipped a Grand Slam match and left it midway. He has played 1513 tour-level matches and 421 matches at major tournaments since 1999 and not given his opponent a walkover.
World No. 2 Djokovic said he had ‘huge respect’ for the resilient Federer’s record of never retiring from a match. “I did have retirements throughout my career. I know how it feels when you’re hurt on the court,” he said.
“It’s an amazing fact that he has never retired his match, not a single match, throughout his career. Huge respect for that.”