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Roger Federer Withdraws from Miami Open, Will 'Slowly Work His Way Back' for 2021 Return

·2-min read

TPN/Getty Images Roger Federer in August 2019

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the upcoming Miami Open as he charts his return to tennis after surgery.

An agent for the 39-year-old athlete told the Associated Press on Monday that Federer will instead spend time getting ready to "work his way back out on tour," as he has other appearances scheduled soon. Federer has not played since undergoing two surgeries to his right knee in early 2020.

He still plans to participate in Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha this month. "After Doha and maybe Dubai, he will go back and do a training block to continue to slowly work his way back out on tour," said his agent Tony Godsick.

According to the AP, James Blake, the Miami Open tournament director, said he understands that Federer has to do what's best for himself.

"We certainly would have loved Roger to return to Miami to defend his title," he said, noting that Federer won the men's singles final in 2019. "However, as a former player, I understand that you need to tailor your travel and playing schedule to properly work your way back to 100 percent fitness when coming off an injury. Roger is an incredible ambassador for the sport, so the longer he is able to play on tour, the better it is for all of tennis."

RELATED: Roger Federer Out the Rest of 2020 Season Due to Additional Surgery on His Knee

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The Qatar ExxonMobil Open will take place from March 8 to 13, and Federer said he may participate in another event shortly after, ESPN reported last month. He also hopes to play in the Tokyo Olympics Games, which are scheduled for July and August of this year.

"I thought for a long time when and where I should come back," Federer told a Swedish news outlet in February. "[The Australian Open] was still a bit too early because of my knee."

"I want to celebrate big victories once again," he added. "And for that, I am ready to go the long, hard way."

In December, Federer announced he would withdraw from the Australian Open, which occurred last month, after deciding his knee needed more time to recover.

Federer said he initially opted to have surgery on his knee because it had been "bothering" him for some time. Knee problems are common for tennis players due to repetitive strain and overuse.