While the tennis world awaits confirmation of the protocols to be adopted to allow players to compete at the Australian Open in January 2022, one thing is now certain: Roger Federer will not be taking part in the opening grand slam of the season.
My ambition is to see what I'm capable of one last time. I also wish I can say goodbye in my own way and on a tennis court. That's why I give my all in my rehabilitation. Roger Federer
The 20-time grand slam champion has not played since losing in last July’s Wimbledon quarter-finals and then, within weeks, underwent more knee surgery, his third in 18 months.
He had hoped to make his return to the tour at Melbourne but this is now not possible as he revealed in an interview with Le Matin.
He also revealed that, while he has set a new target of the summer for his return, it is unlikely he will be competing at next year’s Championships which start on the 27th June.
“I would be extremely surprised if I could play Wimbledon,” he said.
“I will be able to resume running quietly in January and resume sessions on the court with complex support in March or April. This summer it was decided to suture the lesion to my meniscus, which involves some downtime. The doctors took the opportunity to also treat my cartilage. The combination of these two procedures requires patience and caution.
“I therefore estimate my return to competition in the summer of 2022.”
But the 40-year-old Swiss icon is determined to return to the top level and retire on his own terms.
“My ambition is to see what I’m capable of one last time,” he said.
“I also wish I can say goodbye in my own way and on a tennis court. That’s why I give my all in my rehabilitation.
“My life is not going to collapse if I don’t play a Grand Slam final again.
“But it would be the ultimate dream to go back as I still believe in it. I believe in these kinds of miracles.”
Like Andy Murray, he is determined to show he can still hold his own at the top end of the game and will not allow injury to dictate his retirement date.
“I had this operation done so that I could ski with my children or play football or tennis in the future. My primary motivation was to get back in shape for my normal life. But I wanted to approach this rehabilitation with the mentality and body of a top athlete.
“As far as my sporting ambitions are concerned: I want to see once again what I can achieve as a tennis pro. I’m fighting for it and I’m very motivated. I feel the support of my team and my family. We all wish that I can say goodbye on my own terms and on a court.”
Federer is currently tied with Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic on 20 grand slam titles so his absence from Melbourne will give one of his two rivals a chance to pull ahead in the current race to become the GOAT!
But even they are doubtful. Nadal is still nursing a foot injury and hasn’t played since August at Washington and Djokovic is still undecided as he awaits the final decision on whether unvaccinated players will be allowed to compete while refusing to reveal whether he has had the jab!
Last month, Roger Federer dropped out of the top-10 in the ATP rankings for the first time since January 2017.