Roger Federer has not played competitive tennis in more than a year and, like his legion of fans, Rafael Nadal also cannot wait for the Swiss great to return to action next month.
Federer has not featured since Wimbledon last year after he had another operation on his knee, which has bothered the 41-year-old in the twilight of his sparkling career.
The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion is expected to return to the tour in September when he teams up with long-time rival and friend Nadal to play doubles at the Laver Cup in London before playing at the Swiss indoors tournament at home in Basel the following month.
“Of course, super excited to see Roger again on court,” Nadal, the winner of a men’s record 22 Grand Slam titles, told reporters on Friday ahead of the U.S. Open.
“I hope he’s healthy enough to make that happen. Yeah, let’s see. Has been a long period of time without Roger on court, so I really hope that he can manage to be back. But let’s see.”
Federer has undergone three knee operations in the last two years and has not played a competitive match since his quarter-final defeat to Hubert Hurkacz at the 2021 Wimbledon.
But despite not playing for nearly 14 months the Swiss has retained his place at the top of the list of the world's highest paid tennis players for a 17th year, underlining his popularity in the sport.
Federer’s recent knee troubles have left pundits and fans wondering how much longer it will be before the father of four decides to hang up his tennis rackets.
“The most important thing at this stage of his career is health and happiness, no?” Nadal said.
“If he’s healthy enough and happy enough to be back to the tennis tour, (it) will be amazing. If not, we just can say thanks to him for everything that he achieved.”
“I am confident that we will keep having Roger for a while. Yeah, I can’t wait to share team with him in the Laver Cup.”