Tennis star Roger Federer is expected to make his comeback in a “smaller tournament” after he pulled out of the Australian Open following a double knee surgery that saw him out for most of last season.
“I want to celebrate great victories again. And for that I’m ready to go the long, hard road,” Federer told Swiss broadcaster SRF.
“I’ve been thinking about when and where to come back for a long time. I wanted to make my comeback at a smaller tournament so that I wasn’t fully in focus and where the stress is also a little less.”
Federer had announced in December last year that would miss the 2021 Australian Open as he recovers from surgery and return to competitive tennis after the first grand slam tournament of the year. He was earlier included in the entry list of the event in Melbourne Park.
The 39-year-old has not played competitive tennis since his semifinal encounter with Novak Djokovic in the 2020 Australian Open that he lost to the eventual champion.
The 20-time grand slam champion could reportedly return in the ATP 250 tournament in Doha in March, SRF has said.
Federer said he had continued to keep track of results on the ATP Tour as he worked his way back to fitness.
“I actually thought that I would not follow the sport very much and would be more busy with my children and my rehab,” he said.
“I was surprised that I kept checking results and watching matches. And normally I don’t do that at all if I don’t take part in a tournament.”
In the meantime, tennis players are gearing up for the Australian Open, which will begin from February 8 after it was delayed by three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.