Federer, 38, confirmed on Thursday that he will be absent at Roland Garros for the fourth time in five years following the operation, suggesting he'll be back in time for Wimbledon 2020:
ATP Tour @atptour
🚨 BREAKING 🚨 @rogerfederer has undergone anthroscopic surgery in Switzerland and will miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogota, Miami & the French Open. "My right knee has been bothering me for a little while... I can't wait to be playing again soon, see you on the grass." https://t.co/DMiDwtPfVe
The Swiss star made it to the semi-finals of the 2019 French Open where he was defeated in straight sets by eventual champion Rafael Nadal, who extended his record haul in Paris to 12 major wins.
Federer confirmed the news via social media and said doctors "are very confident of a full recovery":
The veteran missed three consecutive French Open tournaments between 2016 and 2018, having featured in 19 consecutive editions of the competition prior to that. Missing the three clay-court Grand Slams was down to his desire to be fully primed for the grass season, as opposed to any injury issues.
Federer has won eight Grand Slams at Wimbledon—more than any other major in his career—and is hoping to return to the finals at SW19 after he was runner-up to Novak Djokovic last year.
He's only won a single title at the French Open by contrast (2009) and hasn't reached a Roland Garros final since 2011, so it makes sense the grass court season is a greater priority.
Federer's announcement came almost one year after he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the 2019 Dubai Tennis Championships, via Tennis TV:
Needless to say he stands a good chance of adding a ninth Wimbledon crown to his collection if he can regain that kind of form on his preferred playing surface.
Rafael Nadal can draw level with Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles if he successfully defends his trophy at this year's French Open, seeking to win four in a row at Roland Garros for the third time in his career. The Spaniard won five successive majors in Paris between 2010 and 2014.
The 2020 French Open gets under way on Sunday, May 24 and will conclude on Sunday, June 7.