Roger Federer suffered a nasty knee injury at the beginning of the previous season, undergoing two surgeries in February and May and missing 13 months of action. Giving his best to overcome problems and return to competition, the Swiss veteran hit the court again this March in Doha, prevailing over Daniel Evans in three tight sets before squandering a match point in the quarters versus Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Taking another break, Federer returned at the ATP 250 event at home in Geneva on clay, competing on the slowest surface for the first time in two years. The Swiss battled against Pablo Andujar in the second round and squandered a 4-2 advantage in the decider to end on the losing side and experience the second defeat in three comeback encounters.
After the match, Roger admitted he should have been ranked 800th instead of 8th after not playing for such a long time. After Geneva, Federer played in Paris, Halle and London, reaching the Wimbledon quarter-final before wrapping up his season due to constant knee issues.
The Swiss is still ranked in the top-10, but that should change soon in the upcoming weeks if not after the US Open.
Roger Federer is still ranked in the top-10 at the age of 40.
"I need to play ten matches to give you a better answer about my current level.
Things have been going well in practice. I'm excited about the comeback and will not focus on being at the same level as Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic right now. I was happy that the knee didn't feel any different from hard to clay, and I expect the same in the switch from clay to grass.
Clay has been good for me, and I hope for more on grass in June. Going to Doha, I was apprehensive about the first set against Daniel Evans. I won it and surprised myself a little. Now we are on clay; I'm more focused on the surface than my opponent.
Once I get healthy and put matches under my belt, my confidence will rise. I think then I'll be a part of the top tier. If you want to be top-level, you need to play 50, 80 or 100 matches per season, which gets more challenging as you get older.
The only help I might have had is the ranking. I should be 800th because I did not play for so long. Still, I'm in the top-8. Okay, that's good for being seeded, but it does not change anything for me. If my knee is not at 100%, I know I would not be good enough.
It will be an extra challenge to find that level, but it was never going to be simple, whether I was out for three months or almost a year and a half," Roger Federer said.