Roger Federer announced his withdrawal from the French Open. A few hours later, it is not news anymore, but the shock and surprise remain in the mind of many tennis fans and media… and to sports fans in general.
After all, nearly 17 years have passed since the last time the Swiss did not take part in a Grand Slam, at the 1999 U.S. Open. This means that he has played a record of 65 consecutive Majors.
On a personal level, the last time that Federer did not take part in a Grand Slam, I was just starting my first University semester. A long time ago.
We are so used to seeing him in the biggest events of the season that his presence is just like having a refrigerator o a bookcase in our house: part of the mandatory furniture.
In fact, not seeing Roger Federer in a Grand Slam is exactly like a meal without dessert: unthinkable.
Yet the unthinkable has happened and he is out of Roland-Garros because he does not feel at 100%, a completely understandable reason. It feels odd to think of a Grand Slam without him. We are so used to it (same as we are used to having a fridge or a bookcase in our home, or to eating dessert after a good meal)!
Like him or not, the feeling remains and his absence hurts. Even people who are not tennis fans or tennis people were shocked by this announcement! That says a lot.
We are definitely not ready for Federer’s retirement
The reactions to Roger Federer’s withdrawal from the French Open showed one thing: we (meaning the tennis world, but also the sports world in general) are not ready for his retirement.
If a “simple” pull-out from a Major causes such a reaction, I cannot imagine what it will be when he decides (in many years from now, hopefully) to hang his racquets for good.
After all, Roger Federer is still as important to tennis as water is to a plant… or as dessert is to a meal. And this proved it.
We can only hope that the Swiss will recover and be at 100% next month, in Wimbledon.
(Photo: Getty Images)