Roger Federer hasn’t had a match in more than two months, but it looks like he could be back on the court soon. The world’s No.3 tennis player has been practicing at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, and he might be ready for the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, which is set to begin on Monday.
Federer suffered a knee injury the day after he was defeated by Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the Australian Open at the end of January. After undergoing surgery, the Swiss star attempted to make his return at the Miami Open a few weeks ago, but couldn’t participate due to a stomach virus. It marked just the fourth time in his career that Federer was forced to withdraw from a tournament.
"I am very sorry that I have to pull out of the Miami Open with a stomach virus," Federer said in a statement. "I feel bad for the tournament and the fans as I have rarely ever had to withdraw at such short notice. I have not felt great for a few days, and unfortunately it got worse in the last 24 hours. I was really excited to have my comeback in Miami but I am in no condition to play. I tried to warm up this morning, but it was clear that I could not compete."
Federer has never won at Monte Carlo, falling just short on the clay surface multiple times. He was defeated in the finals by Rafael Nadal every year from 2006-2008, and lost to Stan Wawrinka in the 2014 finals. Federer was the victim of an early exit last year, losing to Gael Monfils in the third round.
Before the year began, Federer didn’t plan to compete in Miami or at Monte Carlo. He released his tentative 2016 schedule in December, and the French Open was the only clay tournament that was featured. Since winning at Roland Garros in 2009, Federer has won just two championships on clay.
Federer has only competed in two tournaments in 2016, losing to Milos Raonic in the finals of the Brisbane International to start the year. His last victory came in October at the Swiss Indoors, where he topped Nadal in the finals.
At 34 years old and 13 years removed from his first Grand Slam victory, Federer has shown little sign of significant decline. He hasn’t won a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2012, but he came close last year, making it to the finals in London and at the U.S Open. The French Open is a month and a half away, though it’s been six years since Federer reached the finals at Roland Garros.