Twenty-time Grand Slam singles champion Roger Federer said Wednesday he would be sidelined until 2021 after undergoing his second knee operation in a matter of months.
The 38-year-old Swiss said he needed follow-up arthroscopic surgery “a few weeks ago” after undergoing a similar keyhole procedure in February.
Federer, whose last Grand Slam win was the 2018 Australian Open, said he “experienced a setback during (his) initial rehabilitation”.
“I plan to take the necessary time to be 100 percent ready to play at my highest level,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
“I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly but I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.”
The announcement is likely to renew speculation about retirement for Federer, who holds the record for men’s Grand Slam singles titles and was last month named as the world’s highest-paid athlete.
Federer, whose first major trophy was in 2003, lies just ahead of his fierce rivals Rafael Nadal (19) and Novak Djokovic (17) on the all-time list.
After the initial operation Federer had originally planned to return for the now cancelled grass court season this month. His last tournament match was on January 30 in the Australian Open semi-final, where he lost to eventual champion Djokovic.
His last appearance on court was in front of 51,954 fans – touted by organisers as a world record for tennis — at a charity match against Nadal in Cape Town in early February.
Credit to punch newspaper