Roger Federer is feeling confident but anxious as the 20-time grand slam champion prepares to make his return at the ATP Cincinnati Masters.
Swiss star Federer has not played since losing his Wimbledon quarter-final to Kevin Anderson, having opted to skip the Citi Open and Rogers Cup in a bid to ease his schedule.
The 37-year-old – a seven-time Cincinnati champion – will face Peter Gojowczyk on Tuesday, his first hard-court match since March.
Speaking ahead of his 1,416th Tour match, Federer – who is seeking his 99th title – told reporters: "I've been practising on hard courts, so it's not like I haven't played on hard courts for forever.
"I feel I am really ready to go. Anxious actually. Cincy has been a great tournament for me in the past. It's great to be back and hopefully I can play a good tournament."
Federer has enjoyed an incredible renaissance since undergoing knee surgery in February 2016, winning two Australian Open titles and an eighth Wimbledon crown.
Seeded second in Cincinnati, Federer said smart scheduling has been key to his longevity on the ATP circuit.
"Because of the knee problem and the surgery I had and the six months I took, it's made it much easier," Federer said.
"It puts everything in perspective and you're happier to take a week off and stay on tour and be healthy rather than be playing, playing, playing and something pops and you are out for the count, maybe forever.
"It is hard emotionally because you wish you could play everything, but in return I get a more relaxed schedule, I can plan much better with my family, which is super important to me and I can also plan my practices with my coaches and everybody's rhythm is known.
"If I want to play more I can always do that. If I want to play less, I can do that too. So I feel I have passed the hectic part of my life. Because of the rhythm I feel everything is quite comfortable."