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The former world number one revealed he has had further surgery on his troublesome right knee - and will not be able to play for the rest of the year.

The Swiss star, who turns 39 in August, had initially had an operation at the start of 2020, and had hoped to return in time for the grass court season.

Now he has had an arthroscopic procedure - and will be taking the remainder of the year off to recover fully.

Federer had a similar rehabilitation scenario in 2016, when he tore the meniscus in his left knee while running a bath for his children.

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What has he said?

In a social media post, the current world number four explained the situation to his fans around the world.

I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly but I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.

"Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100% ready to play at my highest level," he added.

What does his coach think?

Federer's coach, Ivan Ljubicic, gave thoughts about the Swiss superstar's future at the end of April and revealed that he has not yet hinted to him about retirement.

The 41-year-old Croat, who has worked with Federer since 2015, sounded rightly confident in his charge's ability to not only rediscover form and fitness quicker than many of his rivals, but also adapt to the new world amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Roger Federer with coach Ivan Ljubicic

Image credit: Imago

"The governments of the various countries will tell us when we will be able to travel around the world again," Ljubicic told Sky Sport in Italy.

"Probably those with more experience will be able to better manage the return to the field, but in reality we do not know what will happen.

We have not yet talked about 2021. Time certainly does not stop and he will be 40 next year, but he has not yet hinted to me about a possible retirement.

Where does this leave his career?

As soon as the grass-court season had to be cancelled in its entirety due to the coronavirus pandemic it was thought that Federer would be in no rush to return.

However, the prospect of potentially targeting a sixth US Open crown appeared a possibility for the Swiss superstar, particularly given Novak Djokovic's apparent reluctance to appear at Flushing Meadows.

The suspension of the tennis tour had initially presented him with an opportunity to recover in time for the much-anticipated packed autumn schedule, potentially featuring two Grand Slams, but he has now chosen to skip any events or exhibitions that might be scheduled for the rest of the year.

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Federer will be 39 years old when he aims to return in 2021 and continue his pursuit of a 21st Grand Slam title. While this latest surgery will no doubt be portrayed as a setback, it may not end up costing him any tilts at a major if the key remaining events in New York and Paris cannot go ahead.

If any player is adept at managing their schedule and fine-tuning their preparation for the biggest events in the calendar it is the 38-year-old. Now he will be afforded more time to regroup, regain his fitness and return in 2021 bidding to crown his illustrious career with yet another Slam.

It may be a gamble to skip the remainder of the season with the possibility of Slams still to play and time running out in a storied career, but if his troublesome knee is still not quite right, it's a risk worth taking.

The tennis tour may be very different when Federer makes his latest return, but he will be hoping not everything will have changed. He will remain a major contender, particularly at Wimbledon and the US Open, but does he have one last triumph in that newly-repaired knee?

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