Tennis icon Roger Federer’s passion for the sport is ‘still burning’ as he nears a return to action, according to his agent.
While he is rehabilitating his injury, Federer has been spotted at a number of events recently, including the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona last weekend where he was a guest of Mercedes. The 40-year-old also posted images of himself on Instagram ‘feeling like a tourist’ in his home country of Switzerland.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not played since appearing at Wimbledon last year where he was upset by Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals. Fans have not seen him play for nearly a full year, and Federer fuelled speculation surrounding his return by posting a number of photos from the gym.
The exact date of Federer’s return to competitive action for the first time since that defeat to Hurkacz remains unclear. Having already confirmed he will not be at Wimbledon this summer, the Swiss star will have spent more than 12 months out nursing injury.
It appears Federer will play in London this year when the Laver Cup is contested at the O2 Arena from Friday 23 June to Sunday 25 June. His agent Tony Godsick believes a return to action with Team Europe would be the perfect introduction.
“I think the Laver Cup could be, if that’s the first event that he’s back, a nice entry way back for him, because he’ll be surrounded by friends and comrades,” Godsick, Federer’s long-time agent and business partner, told i. “Even if you’ve played tennis for so long like he has, coming back after a lay-off like that, it’s nice to have a little support.”
The Laver Cup – essentially the Ryder Cup of tennis – pits Europe against the Rest of World rather than the United States over a three-day format. Federer conjured up the idea in a taxi in Shanghai, and he wanted to pay tribute to Rod Laver.
Getty Images for Laver Cup)
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It has been a social media success as well as a commercially lucrative event, with the doubles combination of Federer and rival-turned-friend Rafael Nadal fulfilling the dreams of millions of fans. While the event is wildly popular, Federer is undoubtedly targeting a return to the ATP Tour.
Godsick added: “I know Roger well enough to know that he still has the flame burning to compete. His real motivation is to come back to compete on the ATP tour and sort of try to end his career, the way he wants to end it healthy and successful and on his terms.”
Federer’s absence will surely be more felt at Wimbledon in a month’s time, as the Swiss star has won the Championships on eight occasions and appeared in each edition of the tournament since 1999. Wimbledon organisers – as well as millions of fans – will undoubtedly hope to see Federer compete at SW19 one last time.