20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer plans to use his off-season training in Dubai to test his knee, in the hope that he can get in shape for the upcoming Australian Open.
The 39-year-old Federer hasn't played on the ATP tour since last year's Australian Open, where he lost to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. The Swiss legend underwent two surgical procedures on his right knee - one in February and another in June - before calling time on his 2020 season.
While Federer's initial goal was to return in time for the 2021 Australian Open, he recently suggested there are doubts about whether he will be 100% fit for the Melbourne Slam. Now in a more detailed interview, the Swiss has divulged his Christmas plans and also explained what he needs to do to ensure his participation at the Australian Open.
"We'll be back in Dubai then. We've only celebrated here (in Switzerland) since we had children," Roger Federer said when asked where he would be celebrating Christmas. "That was very nice, but also cumbersome, and from here the way to Australia is even longer."
"I really have to fully test my knee on the tennis court," the Swiss added. "With the hope that maybe I'll have enough at the Australian Open. Training indoors in the cold is not exactly ideal. But we're just at home wherever the family is."
I talked a lot with Rafael Nadal during the lockdown: Roger Federer
During the course of the interview Roger Federer also revealed he had been in regular touch with rival and friend Rafael Nadal during the lockdown. Nadal recently won his 13th French Open title and 20th Slam overall, tying Federer for most Majors in men's tennis history.
Both Federer and Nadal are part of the ATP Players' Council, which has played a very active role in recent months amid the tennis shutdown and its aftermath. Several new measures have been taken by the tour to combat the pandemic, and Federer and Nadal have discussed those changes in detail with each other.
"I talked a lot with Rafa," Federer said. "Because we are on the Players' Council, we had to keep talking to each other: What is best for the sport? How can we bring it forward? We also called during the tough lockdown in Spain. And he asked me how I was doing after the operation."
Roger Federer also claimed that while he was happy to be at home during the first few months of the pandemic, the isolation made him realize that he missed being on the tour and regularly meeting his friends.
"At first, I was happy to just stay longer in Switzerland, but at some point we realized that we were missing our friends, those from London, New York or Paris," Federer said. "Our life also takes place on tour, and we missed it."Published 20 Dec 2020, 18:51 IST