Roger Federer has confirmed that he will not play at the 2022 Australian Open and said he would be "extremely surprised" if he is able to be fit for Wimbledon.
The 40-year-old said he is expecting to be able to resume running in January and then return to training on the court in March or April ahead of potentially playing in the summer at the earliest.
Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, therefore confirmed for the first time that he would not be able to appear at Melbourne Park for the first major tournament of the upcoming season.
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"I need to be very patient and give my knee the time to heal. The next few months will be crucial," Federer told Swiss publication Le Matin.
"My ambition is to see what I’m capable of one last time. I also wish I could say goodbye in my own way and on a tennis court. That’s why I’m giving my all in my rehabilitation.
"Then let’s be clear, my life is not going to fall apart if I don’t play a Grand Slam final again. But it would be the ultimate dream to go back. And in fact, I still believe in it. I believe in these kinds of miracles.
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“I will be able to resume running in January and resume sessions on the court with complex support in March or April."
He then added that he would be "extremely surprised to be able to play Wimbledon" next summer.
Earlier in the week, Federer's coach Ivan Ljubicic also gave an update regarding the star's fitness in recovering from a third round of knee surgery in 18 months after playing just 13 matches in 2021.
"I think there are very few chances," Ljubicic told Stats Perform. "He is still recovering and, knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100 percent.
"So I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now. But he will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.
"We have spoken and I can guarantee he wants to return to playing tennis. When he decides to stop he will retire, but I don’t think it’s going to happen all of a sudden."
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