Roger Federer targets Australian Open return
Federer has suffered an injury-blighted year
Swiss will miss upcoming US Open
It’s been a “painful” year for Roger Federer, but one he is determined to put behind him as he targets a return to the tennis court in time for January’s Australian Open.
Federer was last in action in July when he suffered a semifinal defeat to Milos Raonic at Wimbledon, with a knee injury having sidelined him since, ruling him out of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The same injury means the 35-year-old will also miss out on the US Open, which gets underway on August 29, while he will be absent from the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in November as well.
The Swiss, however, is confident of a return to fitness in time for the first grand slam of 2017, which commences in Melbourne on January 16.
“I’m working for the Australian Open,” Federer said at an event in New York. “I’m doing well.”
It’s not just the latter half of 2016 that has left the 17-time grand slam winner feeling frustrated, with the first few months also proving to be a tough experience for him.
Federer was forced to undergo surgery on his knee in February, while a back injury saw him have to pull out of the French Open.
“I never thought I’d have a year like this. I’ve learned a lot from this year,” Federer said.
“It’s painful being here in New York [not playing in the US Open], and it was painful during the Olympics because I love competing. But you can’t have it all.
“It was a tough decision to say the least – going out of Rio, the US Open, the World Tour Finals. But in some ways it ended up being a simple decision. Health is my number one thing.”
Laver Cup launch
Federer was speaking at an event in New York to launch the Laver Cup – a tournament named after Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, which will see a European team take on a Rest of the World side next year.
Former tennis greats Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe will captain the respective teams, with rivals Federer and Spaniard Rafael Nadal set to line up alongside each other for the first ever time in the doubles.
“I think it’s going to absolutely unbelievable, to be on the same side of the net as Rafa, finally,” Federer said.
“He has the biggest forehand and now I can actually support him and say, ‘Hey, we want more!
“I will get so much joy out of it. I can’t wait to play doubles with Rafa.”
The inaugural Laver Cup competition will be held at the 02 Arena in Prague from September 22-24, 2017.