Roger Federer is expected to make his long-awaited return from injury at the Australian Open next year with all eyes on whether he can still compete with the best of them, but Tim Henman doesn’t believe one tournament will determine how much longer the 20-time Grand Slam champion decides to continue playing. Federer underwent double knee surgery this year, forcing him to miss almost the entirety of the 2020 season.
He picked up the issue at the 2020 Australian Open, losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have remained at the top of the game during Federer’s absence, with the former matching his all-time Grand Slam record tally.
And Federer admitted this summer that the surgery led to thoughts about retirement in the near future.
Despite recently turning 39, Federer remains one of the best tennis players in the world but there will be some question marks over his return next year.
Henman doesn’t think his performance at the Australian Open will have much of an impact on any retirement decision.
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But the 46-year-old does believe Federer will not be content with just “making up the numbers”.
“I’m sure he’s not going to base his decision on one tournament when he hasn’t played for 11 months,” he told Express Sport.
“Given what he’s achieved, he’s not going to be going round these tournaments making up the numbers being happy if he’s making the fourth round of quarter-finals.
“If he’s competing, he wants to feel like he can win them.
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“Until he gets out there and starts getting back into the heat of competition, he won’t know.
“But that’s why he’s putting in all the work and doing the rehab so he can be back out there playing against the other best players in the world.”
Henman points to Federer’s record of coming back from long injury lay offs in the past.
But the former British No 1 hints that Federer won’t rush back if he’s not ready.
“I think it’s going well, he’s had to take it slowly,” Henman added.
“I haven’t heard a great deal or asked any questions, but it’s good to hear that he’s back on the practice court and building things up.
“He has the experience of a very long career, but he also has the experience of dealing with injuries in the past.
“One thing you know for sure is that when he does come back, he’s going to be fit and ready to play.
“The last thing he wants to do is have setbacks.”
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