Roger Federer announces lengthy hiatus

Roger Federer’s return to competition is over after the 17-time Grand Slam champion revealed he will miss the US Open due to knee surgery.

The Swiss great is expecting to have reconstructive surgery on his left knee and has been advised by doctors to rest the right knee, meaning he is ruled out of Wimbledon, as well as the French Open, where he has won 16 times.

The 36-year-old pulled out of the Miami Open last week with a knee problem he had been struggling with since winning the Australian Open last January.

The three-time French Open champion admitted that the expected return at Indian Wells last month was a cruel blow because of a recurrence of his knee problem, which he sustained during last year’s campaign.

“I must be honest, I was playing really well and I was feeling very confident, so this is a real tragedy,” he said.

“I had it operated on the right knee because it swelled up during the Australian Open. I had pain in the left knee, so I just thought the time to do this surgery on the left knee was not quite right.

“I knew going into the surgery that there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to play the French Open or the US Open. The procedure was done and I am out for the rest of the season, so it’s as straightforward as that.

“I was on the comeback tour already. I was feeling really strong and good, I was back training. I played the Grand Slam warmup tournament in Hopman Cup, then I played Indian Wells and Miami, then I felt something again in my left knee during the second week. So then I had to make the decision to pull out.”

Federer has also been hampered by fitness problems since returning to the Tour in 2014 after six months out with a back injury. He was forced to retire in his opening match in Doha in 2014 due to discomfort in his left knee.

But he now faces up to 10 months on the sidelines before returning in the first week of next year’s Australian Open.

“This time last year I came back to Australia and it was a very disappointing result. I wanted to perform well, and to be honest I was really disappointed that I was injured and could not keep playing. That was the first sign that something was bothering me. The first match I injured my knee and it swelled up in Doha in the first round.

“I wanted to keep playing but it was something that I never anticipated or that I really wanted to happen, and this was the reason why I ended up retiring the first match in Doha. The Australian Open was the second one and I injured my knee again.

“It was then that we went to Japan where I felt like I was really improving a lot physically and was serving well. Then to be honest, on the court it didn’t feel that bad, so it was like an illusion for me. I was thinking to myself that, `It’s fine. I’m feeling good’, but I was really discomfort and pain, and by the end of that week I said, `Alright, I don’t feel that good any more’.

“The surgery was a possibility. I had it last year, but it was delayed. Since then, I tried to train hard again and still I felt the pain. So I had a lot of problems with the second knee. So these last two weeks, it felt really good, so I went through [to Miami], but my knee is not 100 percent, so I feel I had to drop out.”

The surgery will take place in Miami and the Swiss will not return to the Tour until January.

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