Roger Federer wasn’t able to play in the French Open as Novak Djokovic won the title on Sunday, but the world’s No.3 ranked player is ready to get back on the court. Having recovered from the back injury that forced him to withdraw before play at Roland Garros could begin, he will compete for the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany.
Federer broke his historic streak by failing to have a match in the French Open, having previously competed in 65 straight Grand Slams since 1999. He hasn’t missed Wimbledon since 1998, and Federer is preparing to play in the tournament that he’s won seven times, including every year from 2003-2007.
Playing on grass at Stuttgart, Federer is getting himself ready for Wimbledon, which gets underway in the final week of June. He has just one Grand Slam title since 2010, winning at Wimbledon in 2010.
It hasn’t been an easy year for Federer, who had meniscus surgery after he lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals. He returned at Monte Carlo in April, but he’s competed in one tournament since, still looking for his first win this year.
"If I survive a couple of matches, when you are in the semifinals, you start thinking about the title. But to think now about the title here would be a little premature," Federer said about playing in the upcoming tournament, where he is the No.1 seed. "Now it's important to come back from injuries. That's really the only thing that matters for me."
Federer has said his back is feeling much stronger, saying he was “pretty fragile three weeks ago,” and he's set to play another grass tournament next week in Halle, where he's won eight titles. The 34-year-old decided to withdraw from the French Open, where he would have had an uphill battle against top clay-court players. Federer has just one French Open title, having won every other Grand Slam at least four times.
Even if Federer maintains his health, he’ll have a difficult time stopping Djokovic, who is coming off his fifth Grand Slam title in six tries.
"It was wonderful the way he did it," Federer said of Djokovic's French Open win.