Roger Federer is on course to make a full return to the ATP Tour next season after his trainer Pierre Paganini gave a positive update on his recovery process. The Swiss maestro cut his 2016 season short following his Wimbledon semi-final loss owing to a knee injury for which he had undergone surgery earlier in the season.
The 2017 Australian Open in January is the main target to make his comeback, but the former world number one could play a tournament in the build-up to the first Grand Slam of the year. Paganini revealed that they began training four weeks after he called time on the recently concluded 2016 season and are through most of the process with the final build-up set to take place in Dubai next month.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion has made it clear that winning majors and returning to the top of the ranking is his main priority, while he also dismissed any plans of hanging up the racket anytime soon. The 35-year-old's trainer echoed the above statements and revealed that Federer feels like he is 25 at the moment with his passion for the game as big as it was when he began his journey on the circuit.
"It's a little bit strange not seeing him on court and on the ATP Tour. Now we are going through an interesting process characterized by an intense work. So far everything has gone as planned. We are satisfied but careful too. We don't need to forget he has been playing for many years, and there signs of tiredness," Paganini said, as quoted by tennisworld.org
"In early December we will do the last block in Dubai. So far there are many positive aspects, but it's like a football match: we have been playing for 70 minutes but the match is not finished yet. And sometimes the last minutes are very important. Last five weeks of the year are the most important ones of this journey started in 27 August, four weeks after the decision of shutting down the season.
"He doesn't have to show anything to anybody but works every day as if he owes something to someone. He is simply unique. I can guarantee you one thing: his passion for practice and tennis is big, how can't a person who smiles every day before practicing have passion? If he wasn't willing, he wouldn't play. And instead he feels like when he was 25," the seven-time Wimbledon champion's trainer added.