Roger Federer back on practice court three weeks after knee surgery

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Roger Federer back training after knee surgery

Suffered torn meniscus after Australian Open

Set to play at Indian Wells Masters on March 10

CNN  — 

Time spent on the practice court can be a drag for some tennis players – but not for Roger Federer.

The world No. 3 was back training on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing keyhole surgery on his knee in Switzerland three weeks ago – and he’s “rarely felt so happy” to be there.

The Swiss suffered a torn meniscus the day after his Australian Open semifinal defeat to Novak Djokovic in January, forcing him to pull out of February’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The 17-time grand slam winner’s next scheduled tournament is due to be the Indian Wells Masters which starts on March 10, although he’s yet to confirm if he’ll be fit enough to feature.

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Sean Curry, a specialist knee surgeon at London Orthopedic Clinic, believes the 34-year-old has every chance of competing at the California event by the time it gets up and running.

“There’s a big difference between a small meniscal tear and a large one. It also depends on how the patient applies themselves to their recovery,” he told CNN Sport earlier this month.

“For someone like Federer, who will have one-on-one physio and plenty of time to work hard, a return within a month is reasonable.”

A meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh and shin bones, with tears to it a common injury for athletes.

Soccer star Luis Suarez bounced back from meniscal surgery within four weeks to score for Uruguay against England at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, although Curry conceded Federer’s age might prevent him from making a similarly speedy recovery.

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“That might put him at slightly more risk,” he added. “But he’s a consummate professional and is old enough to know that if he isn’t ready, he’ll just have to skip another tournament.”

Federer, who last won a grand slam in 2012, will be chasing down his 89th career title upon his return to action.