Tomas Berdych believes Roger Federer must mentally prepare for the last match.

Federer hasn’t played since losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July, and he had his third knee surgery the same month.

Roger Federer has nothing to prove as he prepares for a comeback next year, but one of his former opponents, Tomas Berdych, believes the 40-year-old must mentally prepare for his final encounter.

Federer, who hasn’t played since losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July and underwent a third knee operation in the summer, said last month that he expected to return in mid-2022.

The longer the 20-time Grand Slam winner is away from the Tour, the more conjecture there will be about the end of his illustrious career.

Berdych, a long-time top-10 player who retired two years ago at the age of 34, believes Federer will want to return on his own terms.

“He could want to come back on court and make the decision if he’s going to play his last tournament for his massive fan base around the world,” Berdych told Reuters at the Champions Tennis event in London.

“He has nothing to prove, so at the end of the day, it’s up to him how he feels and how he wants to do it.”

Knowing when to stop was very simple for former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych.

“I just woke up one morning and thought, ‘This is it,'” the Czech explained.

While he believes Federer has the will and determination to return to the Tour, he believes his age is working against him.

“He’ll try to prepare himself as best he can,” he said, “and he’s experienced enough to realise that it won’t happen in one tournament.” “However, without matches and at the age of 40, judging your level will be tough.”

“If you’re in the middle of your career and get hurt for six months and prepare well, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you return to play.”

“However, I believe that in this case, he must be mentally prepared to accept the possibility that it may only be one match, even if he has done everything necessary.” It’s not easy, and then the young guys will show up and refuse to help him.”

Mark Philippousis, Federer’s first Grand Slam opponent in the 2003 Wimbledon final, understands the difficulties of returning from injuries, but believes Federer’s will to compete remains strong.

“This is the first time he’s had injuries and operations, and that’s a different narrative,” Philippousis, who was also on the Champions Tour, told Reuters.

“However, he’s doing the right thing; there’s no way he can rush this.” Is he able to return? The most impressive thing for me was watching him play five sets in front of no people at the French Open — he’s fighting, he’s pumping his hands.

“It only goes to show how much he enjoys the game.” He still has amazing enthusiasm for the game.”

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