I want to inform you that yesterday I underwent arthroscopic surgery on my knee. I injured my knee the day after the semi-finals in Australia. After getting tests done when I returned home, it was determined that I had torn my meniscus. I apologize to my friends in Rotterdam and Dubai, as I was very much looking forward to playing those events. While this is an unfortunate setback, I am encouraged and grateful that my doctor said the procedure was a success. I am looking forward to attacking the rehabilitation process this afternoon with my team and working hard to get back out on tour as soon as possible. Thanks for all your incredible support. I will check in with all of you soon.
Well, I never got to my ‘Final Thoughts’ post on the 2016 Australian Open but I will say some more about it here. I just want to wish Federer a speedy recovery from his knee surgery. It is, of course, a setback when the Djoker’s main rival is injured.
I see there has already been plenty of overreaction from Fedfans about this injury. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It could give Federer a needed break after all the big losses to Djokovic since 2014. It may even help extend his career.
Like I told a reader, the injury may even be connected to all the losses to Djokovic. I don’t believe in random coincidence. The injury could be a physical manifestation of the mental frustration Federer has suffered with Djokovic of late.
He has thrown every trick in the book at Djokovic but Djokovic hasn’t moved an inch. It’s now becoming like the rivalry with Nadal. Federer can’t win any of the big matches and that must take a toll on him in some form.
The mind and body are connected so this injury doesn’t surprise me. This is perhaps Federer’s sub-conscious telling him that something needs to be adjusted. Federer’s back problems may have been a physical manifestation of his mental problems with Nadal as well.
Was it a coincidence that Federer’s back went from bad to worse in 2013 when Nadal was having that extraordinary year, only to recover completely ever since Nadal slumped again since 2014? I’ll let you decide.
Whatever the case may be, Federer has to figure out how to deal with Djokovic because he is not making any progress. Things will just keep getting worse for him. He already got pummeled in the first two sets in Melbourne.
That was the kind of mental shock that could have resulted in the manifestation of physical injury. Djokovic is like a wall that Federer can’t penetrate. He has changed coaches, he has improved his net game, he has invented the SABR.
He has even grown a beard. Nothing works. Djokovic remains and impenetrable fortress to Federer. His one-handed backhand just isn’t good enough to hold up from the baseline against the best backhand in the business.
His biggest weapon, the serve, is neutralized by Djokovic’s lethal returns. If he comes to the net he gets passed. If he tries to hit winners Djokovic runs it down. There literally seems to be nowhere to go for him. This has to be enormously frustrating for Federer with his vast talent.
But more important than all the things I mentioned is the mental aspect. Because of where Djokovic comes from, he is a mental monster. He was hitting tennis balls inside an empty swimming pool as a kid before going to hide in the basement when Belgrade got bombed.
Becker calls him a streetfighter. More than a physical fortress he is a mental fortress. Nothing gets inside his head. He is immune. We saw that last year in the US Open final. It’s been a long road for the Djoker with many disappointments and setbacks along the way.
But he endured all and is now at the peak of his powers. No tennis player is his equal. He rules with ruthless efficiency. There is no weakness to be exploited. No chink in the armor. He takes whatever he wants and all must submit to his will. And yet he never becomes complacent.
I don’t know how Federer overcomes that. And again, he is losing the matches in the mental department. He gives Djokovic more than enough problems to defeat him but he doesn’t win the important points. No better proof of that is the 4/23 break point conversions in the US Open final last year.
How does Federer at this point of his career change his mental makeup? Djokovic’s mental strength is something he developed all the way back from his childhood through years of adversity and setbacks while in comparison Federer had it easy.
Who and what you are as a person is not something that happened overnight. Everyone’s character is strongly shaped by their past. I’m sure there is a way for Federer to overcome his mental issues against Djokovic but he’d have to take a serious look at himself and admit once and for all that Djokovic is his superior.
No more of the ‘match is on my racquet’ nonsense. No more arrogance and denial. He never dealt with his demons against Nadal. Why would he do it against Djokovic? I think his body just gave him another signal that there is something to deal with but I wouldn’t get too hopeful that he would listen to that signal if I was a Fedfan.
Federer was always too proud and spoiled to admit that someone could be better than him or that he was the one that had to adjust. He was always told that he was the chosen one, the GOAT, a tennis god, or whatever else he was called.
I guess it got to his head because he didn’t want to admit that someone was getting the better of him or that he was the one who had to adjust. That’s what Djokovic referred to in his presser after the Australian Open final.
He said he didn’t want to allow himself to think that he has now set himself apart from the rest of the big four because you can get a big slap from karma very soon. Well, that big slap from karma came for Federer in the 2009 Australian Open final when he got the beating of a lifetime which to this day I believe he has not gotten to terms with.
I think I will just stop here. When I start writing about this stuff I can just keep going forever. Maybe I will self-publish a book on Amazon Kindle one of these days and sell it for $1 or something. Then I may finally get a financial return on all my work
The is in your court.