Roger Federer has been named the Best Swiss Sportsperson of the last 70 years, and he accepted the honor at a glittering awards function in Zurich on Sunday. However, the comments that Federer made at the presentation didn't quite suggest that his recovery from injury is going well, or that he will return to the court at all.
“I'm here now, but we're all winners. We inspired each other,” Federer said while accepting the award. “I stand here tonight with an incredibly good feeling and share that with all of you. I hope there is still something to see from me next year. But if that was it, that would have been an incredible ending for me at these Sports Awards."
The phrase 'if that was it' has set tongues wagging in the tennis community, with many fearing that Roger Federer is not sure of making a comeback any time soon. At the same time, some believe that his fans are over-reacting, and that Federer's comments were merely meant to emphasize the importance of the award for him.
Roger Federer had won nine Swiss Sports awards prior to this year's event, but this is the biggest of them all. Federer prevailed by a huge margin over his nearest competitors - cross-country skier Dario Cologna and alpine ski racer Pirmin Zurbriggen - with nearly half the votes going to the 39-year-old.
Roger Federer's Australian Open participation is in doubt
Roger Federer has also left his participation at the upcoming Australian Open in doubt, by suggesting that it will be a tight race for him to be ready in time for the Melbourne event. The 20-time Slam champion added that his focus would be on the major events in the second half of the season - Wimbledon, the US Open and the Tokyo Olympics.
As per a translation reported by the Swiss media outlet SRF, Federer expressed disappointment at the fact that he is not yet 100% fit, before asserting that he was satisfied with his progress so far.
"I would have hoped that I would be at 100% by October. But I still am not today. It will be tight for the Australian Open. I wish I was further along, but at the same time I'm satisfied with where I am at the moment," Roger Federer is reported to have said.
The 39-year-old underwent a surgery on his right knee in February and then a second procedure in June - after which he announced he would only return to the court in 2021. He played just one event in 2020 - the Australian Open in January - where he lost in the semifinals to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Ranked No. 5 in the world, Roger Federer added that he wouldn't rush his recovery and training program just to accelerate his return to the tour. The Australian Open is reportedly set to be pushed back to 8 February, although Tennis Australia has yet to make an official announcement on the same.
“We had a plan from the start in which we took enough time. We will only do it when we are sure that we can move on to the next step," Federer added.