Roger Federer will undergo a third knee surgery, the 20-time Grand Slam winner has announced, and now admits he only has a “glimmer of hope” of returning to the top of professional tennis.
The 40-year-old injured his knee at Wimbledon and now faces the prospect of “many weeks” on crutches and a prolonged period out of the sport.
Federer had been a doubt for the US Open later this month but it is now the question over whether he will return at all that will occupy his mind.
“I just wanted to give you a bit of an update about what’s been going on since Wimbledon, as you can imagine it’s not been simple,” he said in a video posted online on Sunday night.
“I’ve been doing a lot of checks with the doctors as well on my knee, getting all the information as I hurt myself further during the grass court season in Wimbledon and it’s just not the way to go forward.
“Unfortunately for the medium to long term to feel better I will need surgery so I decided to do it. I will be on crutches for many weeks and then also out of the game for many months.”
Federer returned in March but withdrew from the French Open to focus on the grass court season. He did reach the quarter-finals at SW19, losing to Polish world No 13 Hubert Hurkacz, but withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics after suffering an injury at the tournament he has won a record eight times.
Two knee surgeries in 2020 required over a year of rehabilitation and, while the extent of his injury is unclear, Federer himself admits age is not on his side.
“I want to give myself a glimmer of hope also to return to the tour in some shape or form,” he added.
“I am realistic, don’t get me wrong, I know how difficult it is at this age to do another surgery to try it but look, I want to be healthy, I will go through the rehab process.
“I think also with the goal while I’m still active which I think is still going to help while I go through this long period of time – also a big thank you for all of your messages which are going to be coming in, you guys are always incredible to think of me, some of you suffer with me and some of you wish me the best and want to see me back on court so I am doing OK.”