Roger Federer: Injury leaves tennis star’s Australian Open return uncertain

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Roger Federer is unlikely to play at the Australian Open next year as he recovers from knee surgery, says his coach Severin Luthi.

The 37-year-old Swiss won his first ATP title in more than a year, beating Marin Cilic to claim his 20th Grand Slam at Wimbledon in July.

“The timing of it was wrong. He’s not ready for some more tennis,” Luthi told Swiss TV.

“Maybe he would have come back a bit earlier and had two good tournaments [at the US Open and Wimbledon] but probably it’s not the right thing now.”

He added: “Probably next year we’ll play only on grass court. He won a lot there in 2015.

“He will like the grass for another year so probably he is not coming to the Australian Open.”

Federer’s last appearance at the Australian Open was a disappointing fourth-round defeat by Milos Raonic in 2014, while his first-round exit at Queen’s Club in June came in his first tournament back from injury.

In the coming days, Federer is hoping to be fit enough to defend his first-round title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, which starts on 22 August.

“We are working hard, and I am feeling good,” he said. “I am in a positive mood again.

“I missed this year’s Open. I am really looking forward to playing Cincinnati this year and also having the start of the season with Roger for the first time in a couple of years.”

After the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York starts on 29 August, Luthi said he was likely to continue on the road to the Australian Open in January.

“It’s another way for him to test himself in that kind of situation to see how he is after a long time away from the practice court,” he said.

“He loves playing in Australia. Obviously he loves playing Masters 1000s because he has so many titles in those tournaments.”

As a player, Luthi represented Switzerland on three occasions – in 1996, 2000 and 2004 – but has often been linked with his compatriot in media.

In 2007, Federer and his wife Mirka, the mother of his twin daughters, broke up, though the pair have since reconciled.

In June this year, Luthi told Swiss sports newspaper Blick: “I think Federer will stay on the court longer, longer, longer. He is working very hard and has a pretty big head on his shoulders.”

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