World number four Roger Federer says retiring amid the coronavirus pandemic would have been the ‘easy’ option for him, with the Swiss superstar determined to remain in world tennis for as long as possible.
Federer has used the disrupted 2020 calendar to focus on getting surgery on some troublesome injuries and rehabbing so he could be in the best shape as possible upon the eventual return of the sport.
'LOST THE PLOT': Tennis player's 'blackface' stunt sparks furore
‘YOU WOULDN’T LAST’: Kyrgios mocks Djokovic with video
The 38-year-old stands as one of the greats of modern tennis, as one of just two players in the sport’s history to have won more than 100 ATP events.
In an interview with German outlet Zeit, Federer said he was hopeful to play in front of a packed stadium at least once more.
“In principle, I was only concerned with my health, but now I miss the feeling of playing in a full stadium,” Federer said.
“Retirement is getting closer and I will miss tennis so much.
“It would be easier for me to retire now, but I wanna give myself a chance to keep enjoying my time on the court.”
Federer has undergone two procedures on his troublesome right knee, as he hopes to have his body in peak condition for a potential 2021 season.
The Swiss master said he was hoping to compete at Wimbledon next year.
Roger Federer’s hopes for 2021 Wimbledon
Federer said he is "missing" Wimbledon after the grass-court Grand Slam was cancelled, but hopes to play the tournament in 2021.
The 38-year-old had already announced he will not play again until next year.
This week was scheduled to be the second week of Wimbledon, where Federer has won a record eight men's singles titles, but the tournament was cancelled for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Personally, it has been very pleasant to stay in the same place for a long time, I hadn't experienced that for more than 25 years," Federer said at the launch of the "Roger Center Court" running shoes created by Swiss brand On.
"But of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week.
"Clearly, one of my big goals, and that's why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I'm preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year."
Federer said the coronavirus lockdown gave him the chance to recuperate following surgery, but said he will have to be "patient" as he waits to return to the court.