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Roger Federer and his coaching team ‘positive’ and ‘planning for next season’, says Ivan Ljubicic

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Thoughts of retirement briefly crossed Roger Federer’s mind this year, but that is now in the past and the 20-time Grand Slam winner is focused on making a return next year, according to his coach Ivan Ljubicic.

The Swiss great was forced to call a premature end to his 2020 tennis campaign after he underwent two knee operations in the space of a few months.

In an interview at the beginning of July, Federer admitted that he considered retirement, saying “I have had to consider if I really want to keep going (with my career)”.

However, in follow-up interviews he vowed to make a comeback in 2021 and planned to play both at Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics.

His long-time coach Ljubicic has also played down talk of retirement and says they are “positive” about next year.

“Everything is under control. We are planning the next season,” he told Novi List.

“It is a wish and a dream for everything to be like in 2017 (when Federer made a successful return to tennis following surgery), but it is clear that every situation is new.

“Anyway, we have one positive experience, so we are all positive.”

Ljubicic has been part of Federer’s coaching set-up since 2016 and insists he is fully committed to staying the course with the Swiss.

However, he will switch focus to his sports management company, LJ Sports Group, when the former world No 1 eventually calls it a day.

“Roger will be my last coaching job. My commitment to this project (LJ Sports Group) after Roger is absolute,” Ljubicic said.

“But Roger and I go further, my work with him is unquestionable and there are no problems there.

“After his career, I can dedicate myself one hundred percent to what makes me happy. Then I will be able to help the players in a way that we judge to be the best.

“At the moment, as far as the coaching part of the job is concerned, it’s exclusively Roger.”

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Sports

We spread rumours of Rafael Nadal doping’ because he was too good, says French star

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Gilles Simon believes doping rumours were spread about Rafael Nadal as many were uncomfortable with the idea he could simply be better than Roger Federer.

There were allegations of a connection between Nadal and Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor who was ultimately jailed for his part in a Spanish cycle doping scandal.

No evidence has ever been produced linking Fuentes to Nadal, though, who has always very successfully denied any rumours to the contrary.

However, Simon believes the rumours only existed to discredit opinions that Nadal could actually be a better tennis players than Federer rather than just a better athlete.

“It is difficult to conceive [for some] that, in terms of game, Rafael Nadal could be better than Roger Federer,” Gilles Simon wrote in his new autobiography This Sport That Makes You Crazy

“We even spread rumours of doping on his account.

“Nadal does not fit into the framework. Moreover, I emphasize here that we never talk about the physique of Federer, who has little to envy that of Nadal.

“That he went five sets at 35 like what he did in Australia in 2017, it’s extraordinary. But no one noted this point.”

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