‘He cannot recover as quickly as he used to’: Roger Federer is set to miss out on next year’s Australian Open, his coach admits… as tennis great, 40, works towards making his return after his third knee operation
- Roger Federer is battling to make a comeback after his third knee operation
- The tennis great last played in his Wimbledon quarter-final defeat back in July
- His coach, Ivan Ljubicic, has admitted the Australian Open may arrive too soon
- However, Ljubicic is also adamant that Federer, 40, has no plans for retirement
Roger Federer is set to miss out on playing at next year’s Australian Open, his coach has admitted, as the tennis great continues his recovery from injury.
Federer, 40, went under the knife in two knee operations last year – procedures which ruled him out of action for over a year.
He made his return in March but picked up yet another setback which required more surgery, and has not taken to a court since his quarter-final defeat at Wimbledon.
Roger Federer is set to miss out on featuring at next year’s Australian Open, his coach admitted
However, Ivan Ljubicic says that Federer, despite the tail-end of his glittering career being disrupted by issues, remains determined to seal another comeback.
‘I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now,’ Ljubicic told Stats Perform, when quizzed on the veteran featuring at the first major of the year.
‘I think there are very few chances, he is still recovering and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100%.
Ivan Ljubicic (right) insists tennis great Federer, 40, is determined to make another comeback
‘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.’
In September, Federer – the former world No 1 – insisted he was ‘feeling good’ after his third knee operation but will not rush back into action.
Currently, he is tied with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the race to be the most successful men’s singles Grand Slam champion in history.
His absence in January will come as a significant blow to the organisers of the Australian Open, who would have wanted all three giants to play.
Federer has undergone three knee operations in 18 months but is set to hold off on retiring
Ljubicic, meanwhile, is convinced the legendary Federer will hold off on retiring.
‘We have spoken and I can guarantee he wants to return to playing tennis,’ he added.
‘When he decides to stop he will retire, but I don’t think it’s going to happen all of a sudden.’
Opening up on his choice to undergo yet more extensive treatment on his knee, Federer told Jim Courier that he faced a ‘tough’ dilemma.
The legend has not played since his straight sets Wimbledon quarter-final defeat back in July
‘It was a tough process to take that decision, just because I already had couple of knee surgeries last year,’ he said.
‘I was really unhappy with how things went at Wimbledon. I was just nowhere near where I wanted to be to play at the top, top level.
‘But I tried my best and at the end, at some point, too much is too much. Now I’ve just got to take it step by step.’
Federer reached the last-eight at the All England Club but was sent crashing out of the tournament after losing to Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets.
Federer was sent crashing out at the All England Club after losing to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz
Following his latest operation, the Swiss was seen moving around on crutches.
‘I’ve got to first walk again properly, run properly and then do the sidesteps and all the agility work and then eventually I’ve got to be back on the tennis court,’ he said.
‘But it’s going to take me a few more months and then we’ll see how things are at some point next year.
‘I’ve got to take my time. I don’t want to rush into anything at this point.
‘This is also for my life. I want to make sure I can do everything I want to do later on.
‘There’s no rush with anything, so I’m actually in a really good place. I think the worst is behind me. I’m really happy.’
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