ZURICH • Roger Federer is practising pain-free after undergoing two knee surgeries this year and says he expects to return to the circuit at the Australian Open in January.
The 39-year-old Swiss reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park at the start of the year but has not played since a second arthroscopic procedure on his right knee.
“I’m on the right track,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion told Swiss magazine Schweizer Illustrierte.
“I’m gradually coming back, but I’m going to take my time and don’t want to put any pressure on myself.
“I will only take part in a tournament when I am 100 per cent fit.
“At the moment, it looks like I can make my comeback at the Australian Open in January.”
While Federer, who in June declared that his season was over, has made significant progress in his recovery, he is still not at the point where he can train normally.
“Not yet, more than two hours with the racket are not possible at the moment,” said the world No. 4, who saw second-ranked Rafael Nadal equal his Slam haul with a 13th French Open title earlier this month.
“But I’ve been working on my stamina and strength absolutely without pain for a while. There will be no further operations.”
Federer has often been asked about his retirement plans but the Swiss said he would keep playing as long as he was enjoying it.
“I have been thinking about ideas for about five years,” he added. “But as long as I am having fun and it’s right for all of us, I’ll keep going.
“I will focus on my family, my foundation and my sponsors. I am very interested in business ideas and entrepreneurship. But I definitely don’t want to plan everything now.
The last time Roger Federer played a competitive game.
“I want to go back to many places where I’ve been. I like to travel to Asia and South America.
“I liked Mexico, Chile and Colombia too. I can imagine taking part in exhibition matches, taking tennis to places where this sport is still little noticed.”