Roger Federer is on the road to recovery and hopes that he will be fit by the time the 2021 Australian Open comes around.
The Swiss ace has only played one tournament this season – the Australian Open – before he underwent two knee surgeries. Federer, who turned 39 this year, said that he is practicing pain-free and will return to action only once he is hundred percent fit.
“At the moment, it looks like I can make my comeback at the Australian Open in January,” Federer told German publication Schweizer Illustrierte. “I’m on the right track.”
“I’m gradually coming back but I’m going to take my time and don’t want to put any pressure on myself. I will only take part in a tournament when I am 100% fit.”
Though Federer began training a while back, it is not business as usual yet.
“Not yet, more than two hours with the racket are not possible at the moment,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion said.
“But I’ve been working on my stamina and strength absolutely without pain for a while. There will be no further operations.”
Federer has been relegated to rehab this season, even as his long-time rival Rafael Nadal caught up with his record major tally this month. Nadal won the French Open earlier this month, without dropping a set, to win his 13th title at Roland Garros and 20th major overall.
The Swiss last won a Grand Slam title at the 2018 Australian Open at the age of 36. Age may not be on Federer’s side as the race for the most majors heats up between the Big 3- while Federer and the 34-year-old Nadal have 20 apiece, Novak Djokovic is at 17.
But the last time he made a comeback from a long injury layover, in 2017, Federer defied all odds to clinch the major in Melbourne. Can Federer, older and in a more battered body, recreate that magic?