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Federer excited but uncertain about return

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016 Darren Walton

Roger Federer is offering no guarantees, just hope and excitement, ahead of his eagerly awaited comeback to tennis this summer.

Federer will return from six months out of the game with a crippling knee injury at the Hopman Cup in Perth from New Year's Day before embarking on his 18th consecutive Australian Open campaign, a run second only to Lleyton Hewitt's record 20 straight appearances at Melbourne Park.

When Federer tumbled awkwardly on Wimbledon's hallowed grass courts in July, even the great Swiss feared the worst, admitting he was uncertain how serious the injury was.

But after a blissful European summer spent with wife Mirka and their two sets of twins, seven-year-old daughters Charlene Riva and Myla Rose and two-year-old sons Lenny and Leo, Federer feels rejuvenated and ready to go again.

"Playing for big crowds against the best players in important matches is something I'm looking forward to," the 17-times grand slam champion told the New York Times.

"Also just the process, and I think seeing how I'm going to cope with the six-month layoff, basically."

The 35-year-old confessed to "ups and downs" during his long recovery - though "90 per cent up and 10 per cent down" - and said the whole experience was "difficult" while declining to divulge playing plans beyond Wimbledon.

"I wish I could tell you I'm going to play 52 tournaments in a row, but let's not go crazy here," he said.

For Australian fans, though, Federer will be back, even if he's making no promises about for how long.

"In a way, I'm really positive about how I'm feeling right now, and practice is going well," said the former world No.1 and four-time Australian Open champion.

"But then again, expectations are low because I don't have the matches yet and it's going to be best-of-five from the get-go at the Australian Open.

"I'm happy I've got the Hopman Cup and I've got my three matches there to ease my way in."

Federer said he was most excited about the Australian Open starting on January 16.

"I don't know what to expect from myself. The crowds wont know what to expect, and my opponent has no clue what to expect," he said.

"So I think that three-way thing is going to be quite exciting; how to handle that and as I go along with it, how much can I play or how little can I play.

"But when I do play, I want to be at my best and for that I need to train hard, but also be very clever and smart.

"So we'll see."

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