Roger Federer’s fitness coach has made the sad admission that the Swiss legend is no certainty to play at the Laver Cup in what will be his farewell to professional tennis.
Federer announced last week that the Laver Cup – starting on September 23 – will be the final event of his storied career, hanging up the racquet after 24 years on the ATP tour.
The 41-year-old hasn’t played since undergoing a third knee surgery following his loss in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2021, spending 14 months on the sidelines as he built up his fitness for one last crack at the ATP tour.
The 20-time grand slam champion was supposed to play at the Swiss Indoors in Basel next month and had even expressed his desire to play at Wimbledon one last time next year.
However, it recently became clear that the surgically-repaired knee wasn’t going to hold up to the rigours of competitive tennis, forcing Federer to announce that the Laver Cup will be his farewell.
The Swiss legend is due to join forces with Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray on Team Europe – the first time all four members of the ‘Big 4’ will play on the same side.
But speaking on Sunday, Federer’s fitness coach Pierre Paganini cast some doubt on the 41-year-old’s chances of being fit to play.
“This will probably be a last-moment decision,” Paganini told Swiss newspaper Blick about Federer’s participation.
“He’s practised at a level in order to determine exactly if playing is a good idea or not.”
Paganini said it “became clear a return to the Tour would be impossible” around July, as injury problems took their toll on the all-time great.
Reports emerged earlier this month that Federer was suffering from inflammation and fluid build-up in the knee during training.
But in a more positive update, fellow coach Severin Luthi indicated that Federer is on course to be fit to play at least some part in the Laver Cup.
“His aim is to play something, though whether it’s singles or doubles we’ll have to see,” Luthi told Blick.
“His aim is still to play at the Laver Cup – definitely.
“We train for three hours in the morning, then another two hours in the afternoon. He trained last week and is training again this week.”
Laver Cup to bend the rules for Roger Federer?
Under Laver Cup rules, all players must feature in at least one singles and one doubles match throughout the three-day event.
But given the fact that Federer helped create the event and his agent, Tony Godsick is the Laver Cup CEO, exceptions might be made to the rules to accommodate the legend in his farewell.
Federer is bringing down the curtain on a remarkable career that saw him win 103 ATP Tour-level titles – second only to Jimmy Connors (109) in the Open Era.
Among an array of other notable achievements, the 41-year-old spent a record 750 weeks in the top 10 of the men’s singles rankings.
While Federer won’t be playing in Basel next month, tournament director Roger Brennwald has revealed that the Swiss Maestro will still make an appearance to farewell his hometown fans.
“The huge fan base, partners and supporters of the Swiss Indoors are looking forward to seeing the legend step onto the centre court once again this year,” Brennwald said in a statement.
“We will give Roger Federer a warm farewell in St. Jakob. Further information will follow at a later date.”