Shanghai - Roger Federer won't find it easy to get back to
the top of tennis as he battles to recover from his biggest injury yet, fellow
Swiss Stan Wawrinka warned on Wednesday.
Federer, 35, has been out since July for knee rehabilitation
after undergoing the first operation of his career on a torn meniscus in
The record, 17-time Grand Slam title-winner suffered a freak
injury while he was helping bathe his twin daughters after being knocked out of
January's Australian Open.
"I think he's practising. I don't know if he's gonna be
back in the top four. We will see," said Wawrinka, after beating Kyle
Edmund 6-3, 6-4 in the Shanghai Masters' second round.
"It's the first time he has a big injury. It's not easy
to come back after that. But if he's fit and 100 percent, for sure he will be
Federer will play the Hopman Cup mixed-teams event in
January alongside Wawrinka, his sometime doubles partner, and Belinda Bencic as
he makes his return.
The top four is missing both Federer (ranked seventh) and
Rafael Nadal (fifth) for the first time since 2003 as signs grow that a new era
US Open winner Wawrinka is third in the world behind Novak
Djokovic and Andy Murray, but some young new challengers are climbing the rankings.
Wawrinka, who has shaken off the back injury which kept him
out of last week's China Open, saw off Britain's Edmund, 21, in just over an
hour in Shanghai.
He said he had no problems with his motivation, unlike
top-ranked Djokovic who has admitted to burn-out after some adverse results and
injuries in recent months.
"The motivation is easy, for sure. I'm really happy
with what happened in the US Open," Wawrinka said.
"But there are still a lot of challenges this year with
here, with Basel, Paris, London.
"I'm excited to keep playing, especially trying to keep
the confidence that I have and trying to push myself the maximum to keep doing
some great results."
While Wawrinka motored into the third round, Czech seventh
seed Tomas Berdych became the first big casualty when he lost 7-6 (7/4), 7-6
(7/1) to Marcel Granollers.
David Goffin beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 7-6 (7/0) and Gilles
Simon ended Chinese hopes when he beat wildcard Wu Di 6-2, 6-2.
Nadal is in action later against Viktor Troicki, before
Murray takes on Steve Johnson in the late match on the Shanghai centre court.