ROGER Federer has lifted the lid on the emotional turmoil which followed the realisation he would fail to deliver a precious goal — a surgery-free career.
Elaborating on the incident in a Melbourne bathroom which led to a knee operation, Federer said: “I was very, very sad, just because I thought I was going to be lucky not having to do surgery in my career.
“I was doing so well all of last year. I was great at the Australian Open. Felt good throughout.
“All I had was a little hiccup in Brisbane when I was sick. Played the tournament sick somewhat.
“Came into Australia, was actually okay again, I thought. Then Novak (Djokovic) just played this great semi-final.
“I hung in there, maybe could have pushed a fifth set, but didn’t. After that, everything changed.
“The next day, one stupid move, the season’s been completely different than what I expected it to be.
“So when I heard that I had to do surgery, I took it, accepted it. But then going into surgery was difficult. That’s when it hit me.
“I just got really disappointed and sad about it because that’s when I really understood what the road was going to look like.”
Federer, 34, was helping bathe his twin daughters when he tore the meniscus.
The innocuous incident derailed an excellent run of form for the Swiss master before back problems ended his run of 65 successive grand slams at the French Open.
“I’ve always tried to avoid surgeries as much as possible just because I always felt like it was definitely not the thing you want to do as a professional athlete,” he said.
“So I really don’t want to go into details what it was, but it was a meniscus tear in the knee. It was a simple operation. My recovery actually was very quick and very good.
“I felt like I got unlucky throughout the process with hurting my back again before Madrid, getting sick in Miami, so forth.
“I think I got into a tough spell there. I just felt I had to stop everything by not playing Paris, reset basically, essentially.
“I don’t want to say ‘start from zero’, but just reset from there and make another push for Wimbledon, which was great. I had five, six really good weeks from then.”
Chasing an eighth Wimbledon crown and 18th career slam, Federer was in vintage form when it came to discussing his troublesome back.
“Look, this back has won me 88 titles, so I’m okay with that back,” he grinned.
“It’s okay if it messes around with me sometimes.
“It’s frustrating because it shakes the whole mechanics of the body, what you can work on.
“Yeah, maybe if it hits you in bad times, it’s not funny. I think particularly difficult has just been looking ahead of what was to come: Paris, Wimbledon, Olympics, US Open.
“It’s different than if it happens at the end of the season, let’s just say Davis Cup, 2014, where you know ‘Okay, I have another week or two to play, then you go on vacation’.”
“Then you have plenty of time. This was different.
“That’s why the decision not playing Paris, for instance, was very easy to be taken because it was for Wimbledon, it was for the rest of the season, it was for my life, it was for the rest of my career.
“That’s more important than one or two or three tournaments really.”