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Roger Federer has provided fans with a telling update on his latest injury struggles after admitting the "worst" is behind him but a return date to tennis is still not clear.
Federer said a likely comeback date is still some ways off but insists his recovery from three knee surgeries is on track and going well.
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The 20-time grand slam winner had been out for more than a year with two surgeries on his right knee before getting back onto the tour this year.
But he played only 13 matches, and underwent a third operation following his quarter-final defeat at Wimbledon in July.
"I'm doing very well; the rehab is progressing step by step," the Swiss star said at an event in Zurich with sponsors Mercedes-Benz.
"The worst is behind me. I'm looking forward to everything that happens to me to come.
"When you come back from an injury, every day is a better day. So it's an exciting time."
He said that given everything he had been through with his troublesome knee, dealing with the situation was "not a mental problem at all".
The 40-year-old, now ranked ninth in the world, concedes that returning to the ATP Tour will be a significant "challenge".
Federer hopes to get back to fitness training and hitting balls on the court as soon as possible, but says he needs to exercise "patience" to give his body the best possible chance.
He withdrew from this year's French Open after reaching the fourth round and bowed out at Wimbledon with a tame 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 loss to Poland's Hubert Hurkacz.
Roger Federer gutted to miss Laver Cup
However, the Swiss ace has revealed that having to miss out on this year's Laver Cup - a tournament he helped come to fruition - has been among the toughest blows.
"That hurts me a lot," he said.
"I knew that at some point I wouldn't be able to be there, but I didn't think it would be this year."
The 2021 Laver Cup is being held from Friday to Sunday in Boston, but without Federer, who will be watching from a distance.
Federer was the chief instigator of the annual team tournament between six top players from Europe and six from the rest of the world, which is now in its fourth edition.
The Swiss maestro says he's already looking forward to the 2022 edition of the Laver Cup, set to be held in London.
"One of my goals is to really get myself into it again to come back and hopefully play in places like the O2 Arena in London," he said.
Team Europe won the Prague 2017, Chicago 2018 and Geneva 2019 editions of the Laver Cup, while last year's tournament fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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