Roger Federer at a tournament and Nick Kyrgios (insert)
Former World No. 13 Nick Kyrgios has urged tennis fans all over the world to appreciate Roger Federer while the great champion is still around.
Speaking on the latest episode of the No Boundaries podcast he co-hosts with Alex Babanine and James Frawley, Kyrgios lauded the Swiss maestro for undergoing painstaking rehabilitation sessions for his back and knees.
Kyrgios opined that Federer is putting in all the hard work for the pleasure of his fans, who ought to treasure him for as long as he plays.
“Just appreciate it now while he is here,” Kyrgios said. “Roger Federer is on his back rehab and knee rehab right now to play only for half the fans in the world and himself.”
The 26-year-old also admonished fans for not cherishing some of the greatest sporting talents in the world.
The Australian alluded to basketball greats LeBron James and Steph Curry, as well as tennis legends Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Kyrgios added that these athletes are often undervalued by fans who don’t realize they are witnessing greatness.
“People take all these athletes they’ve got now for granted. Like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer,” Kyrgios said. “It is just human nature to take stuff for granted.”
Kyrgios remarked that people tend to heap praise on the great players only after they hang up their boots. But while they are playing, these brilliant athletes are subjected to constant disapproval.
“When they retire, everyone says, ‘Oh, they were the best’. But whilst they are playing, it is always criticism,” Kyrgios said.
Roger Federer doubtful for Wimbledon in 2022
Roger Federer at a press conference during Wimbledon
Roger Federer’s last competitive match of the 2021 season came at Wimbledon. Federer lost 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 in the quarterfinals to World No. 14 Hubert Hurkacz, his first straight-set loss at the tournament in 19 years.
Federer cut his season short after that, citing an injury to his knee. The 20-time Grand Slam champion then underwent his third knee surgery, forcing him to pull out of the US Open.
In November 2021, Federer updated fans with regard to his injury status, saying that the 2022 Australian Open was off the cards. He talked about the possibility of competing at Wimbledon, but even that is a long shot considering the recent operation he just underwent.
“The truth is I would be surprised to play Wimbledon,” Federer said. “And that is not a surprise. We knew before that an operation of this nature would require a long break.”
Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are currently tied on 20 Majors, with Djokovic tipped by most to take the lead in the Grand Slam race in 2022.