The Injury that Made Roger Federer Retire

Roger Federer had a career full of achievements and recognition. Although injuries didn't cause him too many problems, they did reduce his participation in competitions in recent years.
The Injury that Made Roger Federer Retire
Leonardo Biolatto

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 12 December, 2022

The person many consider to be the best tennis player in history has left the sport in an emotional farewell. In addition to his age (41), there’s an injury that has practically forced Roger Federer to retire from the sport he has devoted his life to.

For two years, the Swiss had only been able to play fourteen matches. The injuries that he was able to avoid for so many years due to his training and commitment began to take their toll on him.

The knee, the weak point of Roger Federer’s injuries

Throughout his outstanding career as a professional, Roger Federer played no fewer than 1526 matches. He was number 1 in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) ranking for 310 weeks and won a staggering 20 Grand Slam tournaments. He was also an Olympic doubles champion and Davis Cup champion with his country in 2014.

However, there was one duel that he couldn’t win in the end – the battle with his own right knee. In 2020, Federer announced that he would take advantage of the pause in sports competitions due to the pandemic to undergo an arthroscopy. He divulged that he was experiencing discomfort and pain in that area – the first warning sign.

An arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which small incisions are made in the knee to insert forceps and a camera. This technique even makes it possible to treat ailments, repair ligaments, and tendons, resolve arthritis of infectious origin, or even bone fractures and cysts.

Federer’s problem in his right knee had to do with fluid accumulation. This can cause swelling in the area, a symptom that is accompanied by stiffness and pain.

One of the possible causes is overuse, something that seems likely after such a long career. Other triggers are trauma and underlying injuries.

Roger Federer.
Roger Federer was in great physical shape for much of his career.

Other injuries in Roger Federer’s career

Apart from what we’ve mentioned, the Swiss suffered a few other injuries and pathologies that kept him off the courts. There were no more than five serious ones.

For example, in 2008 he had mononucleosis. This is a disease that produces very similar symptoms to the flu, with fever, fatigue, and malaise. Federer was 2 months without competing.

In 2014, a back injury prevented him from appearing in the final of the London Masters against Novak Djokovic, one of his greatest rivals.

Two years later, in 2016, the first knee injury would appear. It was in the meniscus of his left leg, which led him to undergo surgery for the first time. He was able to return 3 months later – at Wimbledon – but the effort cost him a relapse and he remained inactive until the following year.

In the knee joint, there are two C-shaped cartilages, which are the menisci. Their function is to cushion the joint between the tibia and the femur, allowing the knee to move and giving it stability. When they break, stiffness and pain occur in the area.

Roger Federer retire.
The backhand was one of Federer’s best weapons.

Roger Federer retires in style

Unfortunately, time also passes even for the greatest of athletes. Sooner or later, the natural wear and tear of their bodies and the competition with much younger athletes end up forcing them too much. In tennis players, knees, wrists, and backs often suffer.

I worked hard to get back to my best form, but I also know the capabilities and limits of my body and his message to me has been clear.
Roger Federer, announcing his retirement from professional tennis.

Roger Federer will always be remembered for everything he gave to the sport, both on a sporting and personal level. They were 24 wonderful years, and he will now have to find another path – whether that be in tennis or not.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.