Roger Federer is at the point where he 'trains almost normally' again, says his fitness coach, but the real test will come when he resumes playing.
Federer has been out of tennis for over a year now as he underwent two operations to correct a long-standing knee problem.
It has been a frustrating time for Federer fans, with his return delayed more than once, including when he decided the Australian Open this month would be too soon for him.
However, he is set to make his comeback in Doha next month, and fitness coach Pierre Paganini says things are finally looking pretty positive again.
"Roger only plays when he knows that he can play well again," Paganini told Tages Anzeiger. "Now we all have to see how the body reacts.
"It is important to protect him. You have to have done a lot by now if you want to get back on the court. It's really not comparable to 2016.
"Roger is already celebrating a big win if he can go back on the pitch, play and then say: Hey guys, I played, I was fine, I'm looking forward to the next match. Or, if he lost, to the next tournament.
"He actually trains almost normally. If you were to watch you would say: he is not hurt, everything is fine.
"But one must not forget: Only when all the stages are over do you begin to work on reactivity in pre-exhaustion. This is very important in tennis.
"We haven't been working on that for very long, and that's where you can see if the puzzle works, in all variations. That is where we are now.
"We are so far that one says: Wow, this is real fitness and tennis training, you sweat, you don't have to think about your knee every second.
"You prepare everything, and then he can fire again. That is good for him, because it took an incredible amount of patience to get to this point."
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