Roger Federer unlikely to return until mid-2022 as he continues recovery from knee surgery

Former world No 1 , who underwent third surgery in 18 months in August, admits he would be 'extremely surprised' if he was able to play at Wimbledon next year

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Roger Federer has revealed he does not expect to return to competitive tennis until at least the middle of next year as the former world No 1 continues his recovery from multiple knee surgeries.

Federer, 40, has had three surgeries on his right knee in the past 18 months - in February and May 2020 and again in August this year after aggravating the injury during the grass court season. He called time on his 2021 campaign after his defeat in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July having played just 13 matches this year.

Federer struck a positive tone in September when providing an update on his rehabilitation, saying that he had suffered "no setbacks" and was "very happy" with his progress. However, speaking to Swiss media this week, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said he would be "extremely surprised" if he was able to play at Wimbledon, a Grand Slam he has won a record eight times, with his last title coming in 2017.

Federer said he expects to be able to resume running in January and return to training on the court in March or April, but told Le Matin newspaper: "I need to be very patient and give my knee the time to heal. The next few months will be crucial."

Federer is tied with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the race to be the most successful men's singles Grand Slam champion of all time.

His coach Ivan Ljubicic had said earlier this week that Federer was unlikely to play at Melbourne Park in January as he was not going to be at 100 per cent.

“Roger Federer is very unlikely to play the Australian Open. He is 40 and doesn’t recover as fast as before. But he wants to compete again and won’t retire all of a sudden,” Ljubicic told Sky Sport TV on Sunday.

“We will be able to see Roger again next year. I don’t know when exactly, but he is undergoing rehabilitation. He is recovering slowly, he is not in a hurry.”

Updated: November 17, 2021, 8:19 AM