Roger Federer announced on Instagram on Sunday that he needed to have knee surgery. The Swiss will be withdrawn from the US Open and absent for “several months”. The 40-year-old tennis player may never return to competition… Like him, other athletes have had to end their careers prematurely due to an injury. Back to some previous ones.
The news broke this Sunday, August 15. Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, who together with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic hold the record of 20 Grand Slam victories, announced on Instagram to have knee surgery. “I will be on the sidelines for many weeks and away from the courts for many months”, he explained.
After abandoning Roland-Garros before the round of 16 at the end of May, doubt hangs over the rest of the career of the Swiss, 40 years old today. Even if he still hopes.
“I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to come back to the circuit in acceptable form. I am realistic, I know how difficult it is at my age to go through surgery again and try this new comeback ”, he said on social networks.
Like him, other athletes had to end their careers prematurely due to injuries. Back to some previous ones.
Marco Van Basten, from “legend to invalid”
Often presented as the worthy successor of Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten has for years made the heyday of Ajax Amsterdam and AC Milan. Emeritus scorer, triple Golden Ball, European champion with the Oranje in 1988, he was one of the best strikers in the world at the time. But an ankle injury, during the final of the Champions League in 1993 between Marseille and Milan, sealed his fate.
“I was at the highest level of my career, European champion with the Netherlands, we won everything with Milan, I was Ballon d’Or, but this ankle injury broke everything”, he confided to So Foot in February.
Marco Van Basten still tries for two years to stay on the pitch. Continuing to suffer despite several operations, he ended his career prematurely in 2015, at the age of 31. “I went from being a legend who won everything, to being a disabled person”, he still lamented to So Foot.
No miracle for Yoann Huget
It was a little shock for the oval world. Yoann Huget, 63 caps, triple champion of France with Stade Toulousain, had to put an end to his career after a big shock suffered against Racing 92, in Top 14, at the end of April 2021. Verdict: rupture of the Achilles tendon, synonymous with (premature) end of career for the international winger, 34 years old.
“My body spoke before me before the end of the season and my career. We meet very quickly for new challenges! he then publishes in a message on Instagram, accompanied by a small video. No miracles or surprises, life is like that and you have to accept it. In any case, I really gave everything and rugby gave it back to me so well, x10 even !!!! “
Arjen Robben, take a break and then go
At 37, the Netherlands international announced the end of his career in July 2021. Trained in Groningen, he returned there last year for a final one-year freelance. However, he had put an end, for the first time, to his career in 2019, after recurring calf injuries from which he failed to recover. “There is a time when you have to be honest with yourself … I had to make this decision”, he confided afterwards.
During his career, Arjen Robben won the national championship titles with PSV (2003), Chelsea (2005 and 2006) Real Madrid (2008) and especially Bayern on eight occasions (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 , 2017, 2018 and 2019). He was part of the Oranje executives, notably reaching the World Cup final in 2010, lost to Spain (1-0).
Gustavo Kuerten, unique Brazilian champion
The Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten, three victories at Roland Garros, best player in the history of his country, began to write his history in 1997, aged only 20, by beating Sergi Bruguera in the final of the French Open (6- 3, 6-4, 6-2). But it is a hip that prevents him from continuing in the summits.
Gustavo Kuerten had to quickly undergo surgery, twice, on a hip which made him suffer terribly, between 2002 and 2004. “Guga” was becoming increasingly rare on the circuits, failing to cross the first laps of the races. some tournaments he can play here and there. At the dawn of his last Roland-Garros, in 2008, a tournament he has not played since 2005, he is ranked 1140th in the ATP.
Victim of the French Paul-Henri Mathieu (6-3, 6-4, 6-2) in the first round, the Brazilian came out to the ovations of the Parisian public and then put an end to his short but successful career.
Read also: Roland Garros. From laughter to tears: when Gustavo Kuerten played his last match in Paris
Monica Seles, stabbing and psychological harm
Tenniswoman Monica Seles, ex-Yugoslav, naturalized American in 1994, had a career worthy of a novel. Considered the first slugger in the history of her sport, she won the Roland-Garros tournament in June 1990, at the age of 16 and a half: a feat still unmatched on Parisian clay. A year later, she became the youngest world number one in the WTA rankings and, for two years, she interrupted the reign of her German rival Steffi Graf. Before her 20 years, she won eight Grand Slam titles.
Everything changed in April 1993. In the middle of a match in Hamburg, a spectator stabs her in the back. A cry rips through the sky and Monica Seles collapses in shock. She is immediately hospitalized. His attacker, Gunter Parche, a 38-year-old man, a die-hard fan of Monica Seles’ rival Steffi Graf, will confess to having made this gesture to avenge the defeats of his idol.
The blow could have been fatal to the young tennis prodigy. She will come out unscathed, despite several months of hiatus. But Monica Seles is psychologically dark.
If she returns to the courts – she even won a new Grand Slam, the Australian Open in 1996 – she no longer finds her former level. Repeated injuries hamper his path, as does the trauma of that day in April 1993.
In February 2008, after five seasons of inactivity due to damaged feet, she formalized her retirement from sports at the age of 34. “That day, everything was taken away from me. My innocence. My ranking. My income. My responsibilities ”, she confided later about that dark day in April 1993.
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