Roger Federer caused a ripple on social media as he admitted that he may not be ready in time for the Australian Open and hinted at retirement during an awards ceremony in Switzerland.
The 39-year-old was named Switzerland’s greatest athlete in the past 70 years. And while accepting the award Federer said it would be an ‘incredible end’ to his career in case he doesn’t make a comeback.
“I hope there is still something to see from me next year,” Federer said. “But if that was it, that would have been an incredible ending for me at these Sports awards.”
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) December 11, 2020
Federer’s 2020 was cut short after just one tournament has he had to undergo two knee surgeries. The Swiss Maestro has been in rehab and hit the tennis courts in August, and was due to make a comeback at the Australian Open.
“I didn’t have any setbacks since the second operation,” said Federer, who will turn 40 next August. “I’ve made constant progress over the last six months. Let’s see how the next couple of months go.”
“I’ve done a lot of physio and physical work lately, now let’s see how the tennis goes,” he added.
“I wish I was more ready but at the same time I’m happy where I stand. We had a plan and decided to take as much time as we need. I’m still not at 100%.
“It’s a race against time for the Australian Open, we will see, I’m curious to see whether it will start on Feb 8. Of course it would help if I had a bit more time.”
Federer has competed at the Australian Open for the past 22 years. It was in Melbourne, in 2017, where he made an incredible comeback after missing six previous months due to a knee injury. The Swiss defeated arch-rival Rafael Nadal in an epic five-setter to win his 18th Grand Slam title then.
The tennis world was curious to see if the 20-time major champion, at the age of near-40, could rekindle that kind of magic.