Roger Federer will be strictly business when he returns to serious training sessions in mid-August after celebrating his 39th birthday in a fortnight.
Coach Severin Luthi, also the country’s Davis Cup captain, laid out the plan of attack this COVID-stunted season at the weekend during the all-Swiss Pro Cup at the national tennis centre in western Biel.
Only 200 specially invited spectators will be in attendance in a disciplined country where the virus rate has been held in relative check for months.
Luthi told Tages Anzeiger that while getting the 20-time Grand Slam champion back to fighting state after two knee procedures this season is the main priority – but when Federer returns to tennis remains undetermined.
The No. 3 has taken full advantage of the sport’s untimely five-month shutdown to completely heal. But with the Australian Open in January suddenly becoming dicey by a second virus outbreak in Melbourne and a city lockdown, detailed planning is somewhat useless.
“Roger will return to the tennis court in Switzerland mid August,” Luthi told the Zurich outlet. “Since his second surgery everything is going according to plan.
“First he had physio, now fitness, tennis will be the next step.” Federer will be supervised in his training by his longtime Swiss physio Pierre Paganini.
Headlining the Pro Cup will be eighth-ranked Belinda Bencic, just back after four months training in Slovakia; Stan Wawrinka is also in the mix.
\For old time’s sake, former greats Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder were facing off in an exhibition .
Players – especially on the WTA – are reportedly trying to plot calendars after China’s annulment of all international sport through 2020 – seven WTA tournaments including the USD 14 million November Finals in Shenzhen.
The fan-and-media-free US Open and the Cincinnait Masters which will proceed it at the same New York venue starting August 22 are also looking less than solid due to the out-of-control virus situation in the US, where more than 140,000 have died.
Bencic reached the Open semis last September but remains wary of travelling to the US in current conditions.
Main photo:- Coach Severin Luthi with Roger Federer on the practice court