Roger Federer has been under the knife for the third time in the past year and a half. The right knee just doesn’t want to leave the 20-time Grand Slam champion alone, who played the misery of 13 official matches in 2021 (9 wins and 4 defeats).
His last appearance on the field dates back to the Wimbledon tournament, where he reached the quarter-finals thanks to a not impossible draw. The Swiss champion gave up clearly to Hubert Hurkacz on Center Court, even scoring a bagel in the third set.
The knee relapse forced him to give up even the Tokyo Olympics, which would have been the last of his legendary career. The former world number 1 has repeatedly expressed his desire to return to the field, but there is no precise plan for his return to the tour.
The King slipped out of the Top 10 for the first time since 2017 and his ranking is set to deteriorate further. Interviewed by ‘Stats Perform’, Ivan Ljubicic – present at the ATP Finals in Turin – revealed some details on the conditions of the Maestro.
Ljubicic opens up on Federer
“I think there are very few chances [Roger Federer will play in Australia in January],” Ljubicic said. “He is still recovering, and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100%.”
Ljubicic also explained that Federer will need to be patient, as his body will take longer to recover from injury than it did earlier in his career. “So I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now,” Ljubicic added.
“But he will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.” Ljubicic also said he “can guarantee” the Swiss still wants to compete on the tour.
“We have spoken and I can guarantee he wants to return to playing tennis,” Ljubicic continued. “When he decides to stop he will retire, but I don’t think it’s going to happen all of a sudden.”
Indeed, the last sentence is carrying the weight of thousands of Federer fans’ hopes. However, the absence of Federer in Melbourne Park will once again lay heavy in the tennis world. Earlier, Simona Halep‘s ex-coach Darren Cahill predicted the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s return in Australia.
So, there might be a slight ray of light for Federer to make it to Melbourne Park. Although it all depends on how fast he recovers from the surgery.