Federer won 18th slam title last month
Won Australian Open after long injury break
Swiss superstar will be 38 in 2019
Fans of Roger Federer can breathe a sigh of relief: he will play on until at least the end of 2019.
The tennis superstar, who last month came back from a knee surgery to win a record-extending 18th men’s grand slam title at the Australian Open, has committed to a three-year deal with his hometown event, the Swiss Indoors in Basel.
“I can barely wait to play in front of my home crowd this autumn,” Federer said in a statement in German on the website of the Swiss Tennis Federation on Tuesday. “Playing in Basel is always one of the highlights of the year.”
The 2017 Basel tournament is scheduled to take place between October 21-29. By the time the deal with Federer ends, he will be 38 years old.
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A seven-time champion in Basel, Federer had thrown some doubt on how long he would play on after he beat his old nemesis Rafael Nadal of Spain in the Australian Open final. It was his first major title since Wimbledon in 2012.
At 35 years and 174 days, Federer’s victory at Melbourne Park made him the oldest man to win a grand slam singles title since Ken Rosewall triumphed the 1972 Australian Open at the age of 37.
“I hope to see you next year,” Federer told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena at the trophy ceremony. “If not, this was a wonderful run here and I can’t be more happy to have won here tonight.”
Although he explained a day later he had no plans to retire just yet, the 11-month men’s tennis tour is one of the toughest and longest in professional sports and it remains to be seen how Federer’s body will react as the season progresses.
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Prior to 2016, Federer had rarely been troubled by injuries, but that all changed when he underwent the first surgery of his career last year after hurting his knee while bathing his children.
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He then pulled out of the French Open in May with a back injury – the first time he’d missed any of the four majors since 1999.
After he slipped on the grass of Wimbledon during his semifinal loss to Milos Raonic of Canada, Federer decided to end his season prematurely in July to allow his knee recover.