For some, Roger Federer is tennis, but for the next few weeks, fans will have to enjoy the sport with the legend on the sideline.
On Wednesday, Federer announced via Facebook that he sustained a torn meniscus following his semifinal loss at the Australian Open to eventual champion Novak Djokovic and will be forced to withdraw from upcoming tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai:
A huge blow to the tournaments involved, Federer had been set to return to Rotterdam for the first time since 2013 before defending his 2015 title in Dubai. Rotterdam will not hurt Federer’s ranking but vacating the 500 points from Dubai will hinder his pursuit of reclaiming the No. 2 ranking from Andy Murray.
The timetable provided (Indian Wells not being mentioned means that March is the target for returning) suggests that Federer had his meniscus shaved rather than repaired. A reattachment, seen with athletes such as the NBA’s Derrick Rose, requires a much longer timeline for the tradeoff of long-term benefits. The quick return (i.e. the NBA’s Dwyane Wade) means that the damaged section was simply removed (sometimes removal is the only option), which gets the athlete back to action faster in exchange for potential soreness and discomfort down the line due to less cushion in the knee.
Today, French outlet “Le Matin” reports that Federer’s injury came not from practicing, but while at the park with his wife and kids. Regardless of how the injury occurred, tennis will get a brief taste of what the sport looks like without him before the 2016 campaign kicks into full gear this spring.