Federer: Back is getting (slowly) better

Published by AAP

Roger Federer is aiming to make a return in Stuttgart. Photo: Getty Images
Roger Federer has said his back problems are improving ahead of the grass court season.

Roger Federer has at least 10 days before he faces his next major fitness test, with the Swiss advising his back pain recovery is going well as he sits out the French Open.

He has advised his health status as his debut at the Stuttgart grass court pre-Wimbledon event approaches on the week of June 6.

“Back is better than expected. I keep progressing,” the world No.3 told Swiss television as he presented his football club FC Basel their trophy after winning the Swiss league.

The 34-year-old was forced to withdraw from Roland Garos before the start with his back problem, which had wrecked his abbreviated clay season.

The French Open is subtly feeling the effects of the Federer absence – the first time he has missed any grand slam since the late 1990s.

The atmosphere remains just slightly subdued without the 17-time grand slam winner and 2009 champion in the mix.

Fellow Swiss and current holder Stan Wawrinka called the ambience “strange” while hoping Federer would be right for the grass season start.

“For sure it feels strange for every player here and every fan of tennis for Roger to pull out before the tournament,” Wawrinka said.

“I had a little bit of a talk with him. He was happy after my first match. He saw the end, apparently. Hopefully, he’s gonna be fit and ready for the grass court and maybe do something big there.”

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