Cape Town - Roger Federer's former coach Paul Annacone believes the 20-time Grand Slam winner could still be a contender at Wimbledon this year despite his latest injury setback.
The 38-year-old Federer announced on Thursday he would be sidelined for at least four months after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee earlier in the week.
The Swiss will miss five events, including Roland Garros, but he is determined to be back for the grass-court season with the Halle Open in mid-June a potential return date.
Many pundits and fans fear that we may well have seen the last of tennis great and Annacone, who coached Federer between 2010 and 2013, admits making a comeback will be tough due to his age.
"The big challenge in my experience is the older you get, the harder it is to come back from anything," he told the New York Times.
"But these all-time greats are aberrations, not the rule, so you risk your own peril to predict what's going to happen, pro or con. In 2010, when I started with him, people were wondering when he was going to retire."
However, Annacone is confident Federer will return to compete at the top again and challenge for a ninth Wimbledon title.
"He just got to the semis of the Aussie Open by the skin of his teeth basically, but he was there, and those are the moments all those greats live for.
"So I'm not quite ready to write him off. And you look at his grass-court record and how unique his game is for grass, I don't see any reason he can't still win Wimbledon."