Multiple Grand Slam-winning coach Darren Cahill has said he is "pretty sure" Roger Federer will make a comeback at next year's Australian Open.
Federer was last seen in action at Wimbledon, where he aggravated a knee injury, forcing him to undergo a third surgery and end his 2021 season.
Many believed that the latest surgery would bring an end to the Swiss' illustrious career, considering the fact that he turned 40 this August. However, Federer himself asserted that he was keen to return to the sport some time next year.
The 40-year-old was pictured walking with the help of crutches not too long ago at the Laver Cup. In more recent images, however, Federer was spotted moving without any support.
While there has been no news of Federer returning to training, Darren Cahill stressed that the Swiss is indeed back on the courts. The Aussie further said that several people involved in the 2022 Australian Open were confident of Federer's presence at the event.
“There’s so many great stories coming into the Australian Open,” Cahill said on Sportsday. “Roger (Federer) is apparently playing, I know he’s doing a lot of work on the court at the moment and we’re pretty sure he’s going to come down to play the Australian Open."
Simona Halep's former coach lauded Federer's resilience and declared that the Swiss is hungry to win a 21st Major title.
“At 40 years of age, the fact that he’s even doing what he’s doing is quite remarkable," Cahill added. "He’s trying to get 21 (major titles)."
Cahill then shifted his focus to Rafael Nadal, pointing out how the Mallorcan has been training hard for his comeback next year.
“Rafael (Nadal) is training his backside off, I’ve seen a lot of vision of him in Spain and he’s working incredibly hard going for 21," Cahill added.
The Aussie then went on to marvel at Novak Djokovic's 2021 season. The Serb won the first three Majors of the year but fell just short of a Calendar Slam as he was beaten by Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.
Djokovic's presence at the 2022 Australian Open is still uncertain due to the recent vaccination mandate issued by the Victorian government.
Cahill, on his part, feels Djokovic will be present in Melbourne next year, but insisted that the event would be a "major success" even if the Serb was forced to skip it.
“Then of course Novak (Djokovic) and what he tried to do in 2021 by nearly winning the Grand Slam, which hasn’t been done since 1969," Cahill added. "Tennis is much bigger than one individual, I think Novak will be here but if he doesn’t come down, the event will still be a major success."
While the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been vaccinated, Novak Djokovic has remained tight-lipped about his status throughout the pandemic. As such, many believe the Serb is yet to get jabbed, which could spell doom for his Australian Open title defense.
The Victorian government recently passed a health order requiring all athletes, amongst other workers, to be inoculated no later than 26 November this year should they wish to ply their trade in the region.
Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, has consistently stressed that unvaccinated players will not be allowed into the state, but Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested they would be allowed in provided they are willing to quarantine for two weeks.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are both going to be at the Australian Open: Darren Cahill
In a separate interview with SEN’s Dwayne’s World, Darren Cahill said both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would be part of the draw at next year's Australian Open. Cahill also expressed his desire to see Djokovic make the trip to Melbourne.
“I hope he (Novak Djokovic) does (come to Melbourne), the Australian Open will be a better tournament if he comes down to defend his title and of course he’s got history on the line as well in trying to win his 21st Major,” Cahill said.
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“Apparently Federer and Nadal are both going to be there, and there’s so much interest in the women’s side as well," he added.