FILE PHOTO: Jun 5, 2021; Paris, France; Roger Federer (SUI) in action during his match against Dominik Koepfer (GER) on day seven of the French Open at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Federer says he has seen “no improvement and no setback” since returning to the Tour in March after more than a year of absence due to two knee surgeries and with the kickoff of his grass season in Halle next week is “time to go”.

Federer was initially considering a return to this year’s Australian Open a year after leaving the 2020 Grand Slam in the semi-finals, but his slow recovery has delayed his return.

He played his first match at the Qatar Open, but said he was aiming for full fitness for the turf season and wanted to reach his peak at Wimbledon, where he won eight of his 20 titles at the Grand Slam.

“I probably would have taken the place where I am today,” the 39-year-old, who withdrew from Roland Garros last week to protect his body after a grueling third round victory, told reporters on Friday. .

“March was still very early for my return, but I just felt it was a good time to come back. I thought Doha had actually gone really well overall because I know my expectations were close to zero there, so I’m happy to have been able to play two competitive matches there.

“Since I’ve only seen improvements, no setbacks. After I guess the two operations, I have to be extremely careful with every move I make. But now it’s really time to go. This is basically where the season starts, hopefully for me.

Since retiring from Roland Garros, Federer got his first hit on Thursday in the ATP 500 event in Halle, Germany, where he won 10 titles.

The Swiss said he trained at low intensity for 30 minutes but felt his body had recovered from the rigors of the Grand Slam on clay in Paris.

“The knee just needs more and more care, and I hope it responds well to the grass as well,” he said, adding that he felt “all my strength is amplified” when he play on the grass.

“I’m probably going to push a little harder in training this afternoon or maybe tomorrow, just to get the body ready for the grass courts, and I hope I don’t have a negative reaction.

“I’m pretty optimistic about my chances… I’m convinced that somehow I’ll be fine in the next few days. But of course I want to stay injury free. It’s the most important (thing) right now.

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