Roger Federer is already looking forward to next season.
After a “painful” year, Federer said Wednesday (via CNN) at a promotional event in New York City that he aims to return to competition in time for the Australian Open in January and that he is “doing well.”
The 35-year-old announced in July that he is sitting out the rest of the 2016 season to rehab his surgically repaired knee and has not played since losing to Canada’s Milos Raonic in the semifinals of Wimbledon.
Earlier this week, he posted a photo and video on his social media accounts of him practicing.
“I’m very hopeful, and positively confident, to be quite honest, that I will be fine,” he said (via Tennis.com). “I think that, so far, rehab has been going well, and I’m looking forward to the next few months when I can start doing much more in the fitness room and also on the tennis court.”
Federer, currently the world No. 4, was in New York to promote the inaugural Laver Cup — a tournament named after tennis great Rod Laver that is planned for September 2017.
He said it was “painful” being in New York and not playing in the U.S. Open, which begins Monday, but is excited about the race between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and second-ranked Andy Murray, with whom he is “very impressed.”
Asked to pick the top contender, Federer went with the 12-time Grand Slam champion Serb.
“Novak is the favorite,” Federer said (via Tennis.com). “He did win in Toronto. He has a great record against Andy and is a very good hard-court player. You see that in conditions like here and the Australian Open.”
Fans will get treated to a rare sight next year when the 17-time Grand Slam champion Swiss teams up with longtime rival Rafael Nadal of Spain, who owns 14 Grand Slam singles titles, in the doubles portion of the Laver Cup. The tournament, which pits European players against those from rest of the world, will have a format that resembles golf’s Ryder Cup or President’s Cup.
“I think it’s going to be absolutely unbelievable, to be on the same side of the net as Rafa, finally,” Federer said (via CNN). “He has the biggest forehand and now I can actually support him and say, ‘Hey, we want more!’ I will get so much joy out of it. I can’t wait to play doubles with Rafa.”