(March 24, 2016) Roger Federer gets back on the court on Friday at the Miami Open against Juan Martin Del Potro after undergoing surgery for the first time in his career. The Swiss had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus on his right knee back on February 3.
Federer met the media at the Miami Open on Thursday. He said that his injury was the result of an accident in the bathroom as he was about to draw a bath for his daughters.
“It was a very simple movement, probably a movement I’ve done a million times in my life,” he said. “I made a very simple movement, turned back, heard a click in my knee. Went to the zoo. My leg was swollen.
“Came back and had an MRI done in Switzerland. Saw a doctor right after the MRI. He said I had to have surgery on Tuesday. I did that in Switzerland.
“Here I am seven weeks and two days later. I’m very happy how it went, but clearly that was very sad when I did get the news I did have to have an operation because I thought I was going to get through my career without any. It was a big shock and, yeah, disappointing when I got the news.”
Federer made a surprise decision to play Miami.
“If I feel something tomorrow, I won’t play,” Federer said. “It’s very simple. Expectations are really low, which is nice for a change. Just see where I am, go out there.
“Once you’re out there, you want to win, it’s clear. I’m a competitor. I’m just really pleased I’m back. I didn’t expect myself to be back here so soon after surgery.”
Federer is in favor of equal prize money:
“I mean, I’m all for equal prize money,” he said. “When I was fighting for prize money increases, especially at the slam level, I was always very aware of the fact that it was always going to impact the women’s game, which I was very happy about. Both at the same time were growing.
“But then you have to look at the history of each and every event, where it came from. Some tournaments were a men’s tournament, then the women joined or vice versa, it was a women’s tournament and we joined them.
“It’s sometimes hard to make equal prize money there. It’s up to the tournament director to decide if he wants it to be that way.
“Sure, you could imagine something like that. It’s already happening here, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid as well, all the slams.
“Yeah, I’m happy that tennis has produced some of the greatest female athletes in the world. I think that’s great. It’s a great platform. Yeah, equal prize money is a good thing.”
Federer was asked about another major tennis topic – Maria Sharapova’s announcement about her failed drug test:
“Clearly I was very surprised,” said the world No. 3. “I thought she was going to announce retirement or something, so I was completely surprised by the news. But it also shows that, you know, also the famous players can get caught in the system that seems to be working.
“I still believe we should keep blood samples for 10 years, store them, let athletes and tennis players know that’s the case. You could be punished retroactively. I’m a big believer in that.
“I’ve been in Dubai now for 10 years there and been tested once. That’s not okay for me.
“I get tested more in Switzerland because the guy from Switzerland lives in my village. He comes sees me the day after my surgery, one week later. In Dubai they’ve only come once, the Asia games. In certain countries maybe the testing is not as serious as in Switzerland. I’d like to see that across the board to be the same way and fair, you know.
“But I think tennis is doing more and more. Sure, it was very disappointing news, to say the least.”
Federer said that he doesn’t think that tennis has a major doping problem:
“I’m naïve maybe in the fact that I believe athletes, I trust what they’re doing. Clearly when they get caught, you turn. You’re like, I can’t believe they tried to do that, forgot about it, whatever.
“I really don’t think there is a major problem. I don’t know many people. All I can talk about is myself. I know what I take. What you take, you’ve got to be sure. That’s why I quadruple check whatever I take because I don’t want to take any chances whatsoever.”
Federer will take to the court in Key Biscayne on Friday afternoon to play another man coming back from injury in Del Potro.
“It’s very exciting, to say the least,” said Federer, who is 15-5 against Del Potro. “I like Juan Martin. We’ve had good matches over the years, Paris, five sets twice, US Open obviously. Other places.
“It’s nice to see him back. I haven’t seen him play at all since he’s been back, so I’m not quite sure what to expect, even though my coach went to see his match yesterday.
“At the end I’m going to focus on my own game tomorrow, my own mind, you know, managing my problems that I’ve had the last few months.
“Yeah, just also enjoy it out there. We’re both in a similar situation. His injury was much, much greater. That’s why I’m really pleased for him that he was able to find a way back onto the tour.”