21st February, 2020
Roger Federer has ruled himself out of action for several months after undergoing surgery to resolve a longstanding knee problem.
The Swiss ace, 38, announced Thursday he would be out of action until after the French Open, which ends on 7 June. His rivals backed him to return as strong as ever.
The 20-times Grand Slam winner revealed on his Facebook account that he underwent surgery in Switzerland on Wednesday and would miss a string of tournaments including the May 24-June 7 French Open.
“As a result, I will miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogota, Miami and the French Open,” he said.
Federer, who has amassed 103 career titles, explained that he had intended to avoid surgery if possible but the problem in his right knee refused to go away.
He will now target a return for the grass court season and an assault on a ninth Wimbledon title after reaching the final in 2019 where he had two championship points before losing an epic final to Novak Djokovic.
“My right knee has been bothering me for a little while,” added the world number three who reached the Roland Garros semi-finals last year.
“I hoped it would go away, but after an examination and discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland yesterday.”
“After the surgery the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery.
“I can’t wait to be back playing again soon — see you on grass.”
Federer, French Open champion back in 2009, will miss Roland Garros for the fourth time in five seasons.
His absence from Paris means his great rival Rafael Nadal, the 12-time champion, can draw level with the Swiss on 20 majors.
Federer also underwent surgery on his left knee in February 2016 which allowed him just seven tournaments that season.
However, that surgery-enforced absence eventually paid dividends with another Australian Open title and then Wimbledon six months later.
He has only played one tournament in 2020, making the semi-finals of the Australian Open where he was defeated again by eventual champion Djokovic.
His last appearance on a court was an exhibition event in Cape Town earlier this month where his charity match with Nadal was played in front of 50,000 spectators, a world record for a tennis event.