Former British player, Tim Henman, said that he doesn’t see the next Australian Open as a test case on whether the Swiss Master Roger Federer will keep playing.
Federer has resumed training after a double knee surgery this year and is likely to return to action at the Rod Laver Arena next year.
Growing talk around Roger Federer’s future in tennis
However, there’s a growing chorus of doubt on whether, at 39, Federer can hold his own against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, as well as the next line of superstars.
The surgical procedure this year, after the Australian Open, ruled Federer out of the remainder of the season.
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His last Grand Slam appearance did not end well as he lost to eventual champion Djokovic.
Federer, however, has ruled out any immediate thoughts on retirement.
And, Henman, too, believes the next Australian Open alone won’t determine whether the 20-time Slam champion keeps playing.
Back to work😃🏋️♂️👨🏼🏫📚🍂🍁🎾 pic.twitter.com/zwljm17Rkv
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) November 6, 2020
Tim Henman says Australian Open 2021 won’t decide Federer’s career
Speaking to Express Sport, 46-year-old Henman said, “I’m sure he is not going to base his decision on one tournament when he hasn’t played for 11 months.”
The six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist said Federer won’t just play for the heck of it.
He said the Swiss Ace won’t return to the circuit if he didn’t believe he could fight for titles again.
“Given what he’s achieved, he’s not going to be going around these tournaments making up the numbers being happy if he’s making the fourth round or quarter finals,” Henman said.
“If he is competing, he wants to feel like he can win them,” the Briton said.
Happy National Swiss day 🇨🇭⛰🐄🧀 pic.twitter.com/SPCnkmRDhl
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) August 1, 2020
Former British No.1 says Roger Federer wise to take recovery process slow
He said it will take Federer a few tournaments to assess where he stands in terms of fitness.
“Until he gets out there and starts getting back into the heat of competition, he won’t know,” Henman said.
“That’s why he is 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,” the former British No.1 said.
Federer is currently level with Nadal at 20 Grand Slam titles apiece.
However, Nadal (34) and Djokovic (33) are tipped to leave him trailing in the Slam race.
While a prolonged absence sets Federer back in the race to be the ‘GOAT’, Henman believes he won’t rush his comeback.
On Federer’s training post surgery, Henman said, “I think it’s going well, he’s had to take it slowly.”
Federer came close to winning his 21st Slam title at Wimbledon last year but lost narrowly in the final to Djokovic.