(Reuters) – Roger Federer is targeting a third Olympic medal at the Tokyo Games this year after missing out in 2016 due to injury as he looks to gain momentum when he returns to the court this week after 13 months on the sidelines with a knee problem.
Federer, 39, is making his long-awaited comeback at the Qatar Open — where he plays Britain’s Dan Evans in the second round — after two knee surgeries ended his season last year.
The Swiss has not played a competitive match since his Australian Open semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic last year but is already looking ahead to Wimbledon and the Olympics.
“Participation in the Olympics is part of my plan although my main goal was everything from today until Wimbledon, the tournament that precedes the Olympics,” Federer told beIN Sports.
“I hope that I will be fully in (shape) by then and that questions about my knee will stop.
“The Olympics is a major goal for me… Unfortunately, I missed the Rio Olympics (in 2016) because of a left knee injury. I hope I will return to the Tokyo Olympics.”
Federer lost out on a singles bronze in 2000 but won the gold medal in the doubles in Beijing in 2008 along with Stan Wawrinka and a silver medal in the singles in 2012 in London.
The Swiss also gave his thoughts on why the next generation of players were unable to break through, saying the odds were never in their favour since they had to beat at least two of the ‘Big Three’ to win a Grand Slam.
“The problem for the new generation is that Novak, Rafa (Nadal) and I were unable to play in a different way,” he said.
“One of the them might defeat me but fail to defeat Novak, or beat Novak but fail to beat Rafa, or beat Rafa but fail to beat me.
“I believe we will see a major change after three years. But I know that Rafa, Novak and I will try to stand fast for the longest time possible and will try to increase the number of our titles.”
Djokovic, 33, claimed his 18th Grand Slam at this year’s Australian Open and is now two shy of Federer and 34-year-old Nadal, who have won a men’s record of 20 majors each.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)