Former world No 1 John McEnroe hopes to see Roger Federer back but wants him to play at 100% rather than 80%.
The 40-year-old withdrew from the recent Australian Open as he continues recovering from knee surgery. He has not won a Grand Slam since the 2018 Australian Open and no timeline has been given for his return.
“Anytime we are at an event and Roger is not playing, we miss him. He’s the classiest player and the most beautiful player I have ever seen on a court. As a fan I would love to see Roger around,” McEnroe told Eurosport.
The seven-times Grand Slam winner wants to see Federer fully fit rather than making a return in a similar position to Andy Murray who has struggled to reach his peak following a career-saving hip operation in 2019.
“If he wants to play, we will be happy he is playing but I don’t want to see Roger at 80%. We have seen that with (Andy) Murray and it’s not easy. You want to see the top guys play at their best,” said McEnroe.
Federer says that he is receiving good support from those close to him as he embarks on aiming to return to the game.
“My wife couldn’t have been more supportive. My coaches, I had them at all the right time. I’ve always been very motivated, that’s why I was always able to do what I did. I don’t want to say I’ve had a problem with the decision to retire but it’s a whole other situation to think about. My career is ending and then my wife is like… okay my foot is fine, just okay,” said the 20-time Grand Slam winner.
Given that Rafael Nadal is 35-years-old and Novak Djokovic 34, it appears likely that Federer will be the first from the Big Three to hand up his racket.