Roger Federer insists that he never feared that his career was over after he suffered his first major long-term injury that kept him out of the game for a prolonged spell since turning pro in 2016, and always knew that he would get back to winning titles again.
The Swiss ace failed to win a Grand Slam title during the period between his triumph at Wimbledon in 2012 and his win at the Australian Open in 2017. He managed just 12 ATP titles in four years with 2016 earning him no wins. It was the first time since 2000 that he failed to win a tournament on the tour.
Federer struggled with a knee injury coming into the 2016 campaign and eventually decided to undergo surgery in February that year after the Australian Open. He missed two and a half months before returning at the Monte Carlo Masters mid-April.
However, his return would last just three months before his knee injury struggles resurfaced. The 36-year-old decided to end his season following his loss in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in July in order to focus on his recovery.
Federer would only return at the start of the 2017 campaign and in the ensuing period there were a number of questions about his future in the game and his ability to return to challenging for major titles.
The Swiss maestro has silenced his doubters after making an incredible comeback that has seen him go from strength to strength with every passing month. Federer adopted a new aggressive style of play and ensured he played a limited schedule to remain fit for the important tournaments.
Federer has gone on to win nine titles in the last 14 tournaments he has entered which include three Grand Slams – two Australian Open and on Wimbledon Championships. Apart from the titles, the Swiss tennis legend has also returned to the top of the men's singles world rankings for the first time since 2012.
"I try to implement the input that I have received from my coaches over the years," Federer told German news outlet NOZ, as quoted by the Express.
"I feel like I'm playing differently today than maybe three or four years ago, after the 2016 injury anyway. It was like a break, a reorientation. I learned a lot.
"It totally normal to have doubts. It would be a joke if I didn't. The doubts, whether I could come back again, were already there and also justified," the 20-time men's singles Grand Slam champion explained.
"But the fear that I would never play tennis again was not there. I already knew that somehow I could play tournaments again. I was convinced of that. I knew that someday I would be at 100 per-cent again."