Roger Federer hopes to grace tennis’s most famous court again but is making no promises after suffering a worrying knee injury in a devastating Wimbledon semi-final loss to Milos Raonic.
Turning 35 next month and already in the twilight of his incomparable career, Federer said “I don’t even want to know,” when asked how serious the injury was.
“Just I hope I didn’t hurt myself,” Federer said after falling awkwardly on the same knee that required career-saving surgery in February.
“Then, is it a three-day thing, is it a 24-hour thing or is it more? I don’t know at this point.
“I hope it’s not so bad. I walked it off. I was able to finish, but I don’t slip a lot. I don’t ever fall down. It was a different fall for me than I’ve ever had.
“With the body that’s been playing up this year, I just hope I’m going to be fine.
“I believe I am, but I’ll know more tomorrow when I wake up.”
Federer tumbled serving at 1-2 in the fifth set and immediately required courtside treatment before being broken in what proved the beginning of the end in a gut-wrenching 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 7-5 6-3 defeat.
“This one clearly hurts because I felt I could have had it,” Federer said.
“So close. It was really so, so close. It clearly hurts.”
Federer stood five points from an amazing 11th final – and the 28th of his grand slam career – deep in the fourth set.
But after serving just two double-faults in his first five matches, he coughed up two in a row to get broken at 5-6 to drop the fourth set.
“I can’t believe I served a double-fault twice. Unexplainable for me really,” he said.
“Very sad about that and angry at myself because never should I allow him to get out of that set that easily.”
Despite his advancing age and the prospect of more time rehabilitating from injury, Federer said he never left the court “thinking about this might be my last Wimbledon”.
“And, yes, I hope to be back on Centre Court, to be very clear for you,” he said while also admitting winning another title at the All England Club wasn’t the be-all and end-all for him.
“I mean, yes, while I’m in the tournament, it’s a dream to win my eighth.
“(But) it’s not my only reason why I play tennis, just to be clear, otherwise I’ll go in a freeze box now and come out before Wimbledon next year.
“That’s not how we do it. We usually play 60 matches and we travel the world to try to achieve other things as well.
“I know Wimbledon is important, but it’s not everything, everything.
“A lot of things that I’d like to achieve besides winning Wimbledon.”
Whether he does likely rests with the extent of his latest injury setback, after the great Swiss conceded he’d surprised himself with how well he’d played this fortnight after missing the French Open with a back problem.
“The 10 sets I played the last two matches really gives me the belief that I’m much match fit or tougher physically than I thought I was,” said the father of four.
“I never thought I could do this before the tournament started.
“Actually, it’s very encouraging for the season, hopefully for the rest of my career.
“Not that I was worried it was going to end somehow, but I was insecure coming into Wimbledon. I must tell you.
“I mentioned that a lot beforehand. For some maybe not that clear, for others very clear.
“It’s been a great run for me here, I must say. I just hope with the slip I had in the fifth, I’m going to be fine tomorrow and beyond.
“I mean, curious in a weird way to find out what’s the deal now.”