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Roger Federer has made a heartbreaking new announcement on social media that has left the tennis world shattered, after revealing that he will undergo more knee surgery.
The 20-time grand slam champion has been struggling to battle back from multiple knee surgeries already, but admits the latest setback will keep him out of tennis for "many months".
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Federer's sad revelation casts serious doubts on his future in the sport, with many fans convinced more than ever that the 40-year-old's retirement is imminent.
The Swiss maestro has stopped short of suggesting that himself and seemed determined to fight back to full fitness and return to the courts, however it has ruled out any slim hopes he had of competing at the upcoming US Open.
"I will be on crutches for many weeks and out of the game for many months," 20-time Grand Slam title winner Federer said in a video posted on his Instagram account.
The decision immediately rules him out of the US Open, where he has been champion five times and which starts in two weeks' time.
"I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form," added Federer.
"I am realistic, don't get me wrong. I know how difficult it is at my age to go through another surgery. I will try it. I want to be healthy, I want to be running around."
Federer, who has played just 13 matches in 2021, underwent two knee surgeries in 2020 when he played only six times.
He had already pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics to rest his knee.
The latest setback left his legion of fans gutted on social media, with many fearing the worst for the 40-year-old.
Big tennis news: 40 years old Roger Federer will have another knee surgery and stop for many months. Wanna give himself a chance to return in a decent shape. pic.twitter.com/KD8eVv6JzA
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) August 15, 2021
So this Federer news is pretty much the tin hat on a shitty week 😥
It'll be devastating if he's unable to end his career on his own terms
— Jon Phillips (@JonPhil81081632) August 15, 2021
This is a sign to retire. I'm more easily convinced of when to give it up, or just switch paths like mentoring. We'll see what happens.
— stephen futado (@sfutado) August 15, 2021
Gutted. I’m not sure we’ll ever see Federer return to the court. https://t.co/lmwzdy4FTA
— DanRodenby (@DRodenbyTennis) August 15, 2021
BREAKING: Roger Federer just announced he will have knee surgery and will be out "many months." Says, "I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form."
No US Open, and no definitive word on whether or not he'll play Australia in January.
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) August 15, 2021
May well be that that’s it for Roger Federer.
He can and should take as long as he wants to seek a solution, and decide.
But at this stage, mainly hope he can get his knee back to a state in which he can enjoy life, and perhaps a farewell exhibition tour. He’s done it all.
— David Law (@DavidLawTennis) August 15, 2021
If you asked me 10 years ago which athlete's career would be ended by injuries, Roger Federer's probably the last person I would think of and yet, here we are.
— Siddhant (@Siddhantguru) August 15, 2021
Federer withdrew from this year's French Open after reaching the fourth round and was knocked out in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, a tame 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 loss to Poland's Hubert Hurkacz.
That defeat was only his 14th at the All England Club in 119 matches, and the first time he had been beaten in the tournament in straight sets since a first-round exit at the hands of Mario Ancic in 2002.
It was also the first time he had lost a set 6-0 at Wimbledon and just the third time at a Slam.
"I've been doing a lot of checks with the doctors on my knee," he added on Sunday.
"I hurt myself further during the grass-court season and it's just not the way to go forward.
"They told me to feel better I'll need surgery. I decided to do it."
Roger Federer adjusting to longer recovery time
After turning 40 last weekend, Federer said he was learning to adjust to the fact that recovering from niggles takes two weeks rather than two days.
"It was different before. The questions were simple: what is my place in the ranking? What will my next tournament be?", he told Blick newspaper.
"Today, it's more difficult: how do I feel when I start training again? What are my goals? How to reconcile all this with the family? What does the rest of the team say?
Federer captured his most recent major at the 2018 Australian Open.
He was already well past 36 and the second oldest man to clinch a Slam title
Since then, Novak Djokovic has claimed eight more majors and old rival Rafael Nadal has picked up four.
Both now stand level on 20 Slams with Federer.
Should Federer be preparing to bow out after 23 years on tour, he will leave behind a career decorated by 103 titles — only Jimmy Connors with 109 has more — a combined 310 weeks at number one and more than $130 million in prize money alone.
Later Sunday, the US Open confirmed Federer's withdrawal from the final Grand Slam event of the year with his spot in the draw taken by Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands.
Nadal remains a doubt for the US Open where he is a four-time champion.
The 35-year-old Spaniard suffered a foot injury in his semi-final loss to Djokovic at the French Open in June.
The Spaniard skipped Wimbledon and the Olympics and played just one match in Washington earlier this month before withdrawing from the Toronto and Cincinnati Masters events.
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