No longer (plan to) play “20 tournaments per year”: Federer on his return to tennis

Away from the tour for almost a year, the 20-time Grand Slam champion has been sharing insights into his state of mind as he prepares for a comeback in September

Roger Federer, 2021 Roger Federer, 2021 © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer says he will not play a heavy schedule when he returns to the game, which is planned for later this year.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not played since his quarter-final exit at Wimbledon in July last year, post which he underwent a third knee surgery. Federer has been working on rehab and making his knee stronger as he prepares for a comeback, which has the Laver Cup in September and the Swiss Indoors in Basel in October as part of the plan.

In a recent interview to Swiss media Blick, when asked if his kids and family would accompany him on the road, Federer said he does not plan to play 20 tournaments per year and hence the situation should be more manageable.

“A problem (Editor note: about his kids joining him on the road) I would really like to face. Because that would mean that everything goes well with the knee and the comeback,” Federer said.

The Swiss added that he will “no longer play 20 tournaments per year” and that the location of the tournament would also play a role in whether his kids come along. “I know that my children would be happy to see certain places again. Be it London or Miami.”

“I’m looking forward to coming home in the evening after a hard day’s training and being completely exhausted”

Roger Federer

This is not the first time in recent weeks that Federer has spoke about his comeback plans. In an interview with Caminada magazine last month, Federer said he was eagerly looking forward to his comeback as he waits for his doctor’s okay to go all out in his training.

“I’m waiting for the doctors’ okay. I’m ready to give it my all again. I feel like a racehorse scratching its stall and wanting to race. In the summer I hope to be able to hit the ground running. I’m looking forward to coming home in the evening after a hard day’s training and being completely exhausted.”

Federer went on to detail some of the work that goes on behind the scene as he prepares for hie comeback. “As with a car, you have to turn a thousand screws until the engine runs smoothly. Today, mobilization, stretching, and a warm-up in the morning take about 45 minutes. Then we drive to the plant. There follows a warm-up on the pitch, half an hour. After that I eat, stretch, strengthen my ankles with tapes, then warm up again, do gymnastics and explosive speed exercises. Before I finally play, I took care of my body for two and a half hours.”

Switzerland's Roger Federer in action during his quarter final match against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon in 2021
Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his quarter final match against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon in 2021 Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

In that same interview, Federer said he was inspired by long-time rival Rafael Nadal’s unexpected win at the Australian Open after missing the last few months of 2021.

Absolutely. It’s incredibly inspiring when someone comes back from massive health problems. Rafa and I talk on the phone from time to time, we talk a lot. I knew he wasn’t doing great, but when he made it anyway, I was really happy for him. The effort is immense. Today, just preparing for a match takes many hours.”

“I am happy with my progress” – Federer at the Barcelona Grand Prix earlier last month

Federer had also sounded optimistic about his comeback when he attended the Barcelona Grand Prix in the end of May.

“Good, you know, it’s been. I mean It’s not going good, but I am happy with my progress. I wish I could be playing the French Open right now and or any other tournament for that matter, but it is going to take some time. Unfortunately, my knee has been playing a bit funny the last couple of years, but I am doing really well. Family is good. Everybody is fine, so everything is great actually,” Federer had said at the time.

Due to inactivity, Federer has slipped to No 50 in the latest world rankings and will drop off the ATP rankings completely after the 2022 Wimbledon Championships.

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