The 38-year-old Roger Federer has not played competitively since his Australian Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic in January, having had his first round of surgery the following month.
In a message on his social media channels Federer wrote:
“A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure on my right knee.
“Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100 per cent ready to play at my highest level.
“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.”
Pain triggered during the Australian Open
Roger Federer did openly struggle with his mobility and health during Australian Open, experiencing some back and leg pain as he battled his way to the semifinals, saving seven match points in a quarterfinal victory over Tennys Sandgren, an unseeded American.
There were concerns he might withdraw from his semifinal against Djokovic, but he decided to play after undergoing medical exams.
He started strongly before losing the opening set in a tiebreaker, and then faded as Djokovic prevailed, 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-3, on his way to the title.
“My right knee has been bothering me for a little while,” he said in a social media post on February, 2020.
“I hoped it would go away, but after an examination, and discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland,” added Federer.
Roaring back mentality
This is only the second surgery in Federer’s long career. He had the first in February 2016 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, which he injured while making a sudden movement as he was giving his twin daughters a bath.
Though he returned to competition in April that year, he continued to struggle, and eventually cut short his season to further rehabilitate his knee and recover full fitness.
He roared back after a nearly six-month break to play some of his finest tennis: hitting through his one-handed backhand with new power and conviction.
He won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017 and the Australian Open again in 2018, shortly before returning to No. 1.
It has been quite a tennis renaissance, but he will now be forced to take another extended break from competition.
With the tennis season still under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Roger Federer has now written off the prospect of making a return until the new year.