Roger Federer has admitted he is extremely unlikely to play Wimbledon next June after admitting he will not be in Melbourne for the Australian Open in January.

“The truth is I would be surprised to play Wimbledon (it begins on June 27), so Australia does not even come into play,” Federer told Swiss newspaper 24 heures.

“And that is not a surprise. We knew before that an operation of this nature would require a long break. So there is nothing new.

“But I wanted to wait for the doctors’ first major check-up to talk about it – and it was very encouraging. 

Roger Federer celebrates beating Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001. Photo: Roger Parker.

“So I have started a long process of rehabilitation into which I am putting all my heart… You have to be patient to give my knee time to recover to 100 per cent.”

Federer was hit with injury in February last year, requiring surgery.

He didn’t make make a return to the court as a recovery setback saw him play just one tournament.

The latest recent surgery sparked rumours of his retirement, but the 40-year-old has always said he wanted to make a comeback.

“Playing again in 2022 or 2023 no longer makes a big difference: 40 or 41 years, it doesn’t matter,” Federer said.

“The question is rather: will I manage to hurt myself day after day? Today my heart answers yes. So I take it step by step.”

Federer added his life wasn’t going to collapse if he couldn’t play another Grand Slam, but “it would be the ultimate dream to go back”.