Roger Federer comeback imminent as Australian Open

Roger Federer to miss US Open and undergo knee surgery

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Roger Federer could make his comeback in time for the Australian Open. The 40-year-old shut down his season after Wimbledon to undergo a third knee surgery in under two years, saying he would be out for “many months”. However, Australian tennis coach and pundit Darren Cahill has now revealed that organisers are “pretty sure” the 20-time Grand Slam champion will make his return in Melbourne come January.

Federer has barely played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the 2020 Australian Open.

The current world No 14 ended his 2020 season early – before tennis was suspended for the pandemic – and underwent two knee surgeries last year.

He played just five tournaments upon his return this season, later deciding to go under the knife for a third time after revealing he suffered a “setback” with his troublesome right knee at Wimbledon.

Making the decision to cut his season short once again, the 40-year-old said he would be out for “many months” when announcing his surgery in August.

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Federer was all but ruled out of January’s Australian Open, as he arrived in Boston for the Laver Cup weeks ago as a spectator, and admitted it would be a while before he’d be back on the match court.

“I’ve just got to take it step by step. 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,” Federer said in September, following his successful third surgery.

“But it’s going to take me a few more months and then we’ll see how things are at some point next year.”

However, former Australian tennis player and renowned coach Darren Cahill has now revealed that the six-time champion is apparently set to make his comeback in Melbourne for the season-opening Grand Slam.

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Speaking on Sportsday Radio, the coach and pundit spoke of the “stories” ahead of the tournament, admitting that one of those was the return of Federer.

Cahill, who recently parted ways with former world No 1 Simona Halep after a six-year player-coach partnership, said: “Look, there’s so many great stories coming into the Australian Open. Not just on the men’s side with Roger’s apparently playing as well and we’re not quite sure.

“I know he’s doing a lot of work on the court at the moment and we’re pretty sure he’s coming down to play the Australian.”

The Australian Open has been a big talking point in recent weeks, as ministers are yet to decide whether unvaccinated players will be allowed to enter the country to compete.

It has spelled trouble for world No 1 Novak Djokovic with all members of the Big Three currently tied on 20 Grand Slams, meaning if Federer is to play in Melbourne, he will join Nadal in the quest to reach a record 21st Major title – a feat Djokovic missed out on when he lost the recent US Open final.

Nadal himself recently confirmed his comeback after shutting down his 2021 season shortly after Federer, and Cahill spoke of the goal to reach a record 21 Grand Slam titles.

He continued: “At his (Federer’s) age, 40 years of age, the fact that he’s even doing what he’s doing is remarkable. He’s trying to get 21.

“Rafa’s training his backside off, I’ve seen a lot of vision for him across in Spain and he’s working incredibly hard, so he’s going for 21.

“And the of course Novak, what he did in 2021, trying to win the Grand Slam which hasn’t been done since Rod Laver in ’69 on the men’s side. It was a remarkable year and for him to get all the way through to the US Open final, be pipped at the post by Medvedev, and Medvedev played amazing tennis, it kind of made that whole year.

“Remember also, with all that controversy with the Australian Open at the start of this year, had Novak not gone through that and won the Australian Open, he would never have been in mind to win that Grand Slam.”
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