Wed, 03 Jun 2020

This was the one word response from record eight-times champion Roger Federer to the announcement by the all-England Club that they were cancelling this year's premier Grand Slam event because of the coronavirus scourge that has gripped the world.

Little wonder! The record 20-times Grand Slam champion will be little more than a month off the age of 40 when one of the world's great and monumental sporting events is now due to be resumed at the end of June next year.

And although Federer's inimitable passion for playing tennis at a high level has hardly diminished since the record major winner made his first Wimbledon appearance at the age of 18 in 1999 - and he consistently avoids the issue of retirement - not even the Swiss maestro is devoid of experiencing the wrath of "Father Time."

And even contemplating in this troubled time whether the "The Championships", which the English like to call the historic event, takes place at all next year. Federer's presence must be deemed as problematic to some degree.

As matters stand, four Grand Slam tournaments, namely the US Open, the revised French Open in September of this year and next year's French Open, as well as the 2021 Australian Open, are all scheduled before next year's Wimbledon.

Federer, if the events are indeed staged, is likely to participate in the US Open and the Australian Open, if not in both or one of the French Opens.

And ultimately his achievements in these tournaments could determine whether he will be in action on the grass courts of Wimbledon again.

Interestingly, also, are the intriguing and ongoing efforts of Rafael Nadal, with 19 such prized titles, and Novak Djokovic, with 17, to wrest the record of most Grand Slam titles from Federer.

Nadal and Djokovic are in the vicinity of six years younger than Federer and therefore, on the surfaces, less affected by the tournament cancellation mayhem.

Remember also it was mooted Federer had accumulated his final Wimbledon success in 2012, only for him to bounce back with another of the famed titles in 2017 - and then come within a single point of edging Djokovic for a ninth title victory in the event in what will go down as one of the most memorable battles in tennis history last year.

So, even with the existing doubts, it could well be premature to anticipate "The Fed's" glorious tie-up with Wimbledon is over just yet.

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