Roger Federer’s preparation for the Australian Open could be put at risk by a hip injury that led to him sitting out the Queen’s Club grass court tournament.
The Swiss has spent most of the past two months hobbling around in pain, but Federer’s team was adamant that he would play at Queen’s. After a first-round defeat, however, he was forced to pull out of the event altogether. A loss on Monday night, against fellow all-time great Jimmy Connors, ensured he would not play there, though team Federer insisted it was merely for rest.
However, a new injury worries his team.
Federer’s coach Severin Luthi was speaking at the close of Queen’s, and appeared to reveal an injury ahead of time.
When asked if Federer would be able to push through the opening weeks of the grass court season before the first Grand Slam of the year, Luthi said: “The first round of Wimbledon is looking unlikely, no chance.”
In statement on Friday night, Federer’s team made clear that the Big Four grand slam was the initial priority for the superstar.
Federer is not being overly pessimistic and is using it as a good opportunity to rest. With the grass courts a little more fragile than last season, with a little over a month to prepare, he needs to be proactive and use this opportunity. No tennis player likes to take time off and then get hurt and can end up making things worse. Let’s see how well he is able to recover over the next two weeks. He is on holiday for now and doesn’t plan to play. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to rest.
In most situations, the addition of a long injury would sideline players in the build-up to the start of the tournament. Tennis players can get inordinate amounts of treatment in the coming weeks, since new tennis shoes cannot be used until the grass courts are in good shape.
But this condition of playing is unusual for Federer, who has previously been a champion of Wimbledon in two of the past three years. Last year, he was a contender for a record eighth Wimbledon title, coming within a game of upsetting Novak Djokovic in the final.
After withdrawing from the French Open, Federer had a quiet summer, but played his way into the final of the Stuttgart Open with a semi-final defeat of Alexander Zverev.