Roger Federer said his six-month-long injury layoff has helped him refresh and that he believes it will help him prolong his career.
The 35-year-old underwent a knee surgery in February and has not played a competitive match since his semi-final defeat to Milos Raonic at the Wimbledon in July, ending his streak of 65 successive Grand Slam appearances.
Federer also missed the French Open, Rio Olympics and the US Open. He was supposed to make a return at the 2016 edition of International Premier Tennis League but the multi-city tennis tournament's financial struggle worked against it.
He will take part in his first tour-level competition at the 2017 Australian Open, which begins on 16 January. However, the 17-time Grand Slam winner will warm up to the first major of the season at the Hopman Cup, starting 1 January.
The world number 16 believes he is ready for the action and that he deserved to give himself the much-needed rest. Federer is also relieved that the long rest has helped him avoid a second surgery on his knee.
"I do believe it could be very beneficial for the future of my tennis career that I've had this six-month layoff. I feel rejuvenated, refreshed. Maybe mentally I needed this rest more than I thought I would. Maybe also my body needed a rest more than I thought I would," Federer said, as quoted by ATP World Tour.
"It was really about taking a tough decision to say, 'I give myself time, I deserve to give myself time.' I take six months off in a 20-year career, it's OK. I tried to look at the big picture. At least one thing I know now, let's say the knee won't be good, I have no regrets. I feel I did everything this year to get my body back in shape and now only time can tell.
Federer's last Grand Slam title came at 2012 Wimbledon. Since then, he has reached the final stages on multiple occasion and even slipped at the final hurdle thrice. However, the former world number one believes he still has it in him to win a Grand Slam title in the near future.
"I think I have been awfully close [to winning a Grand Slam title] the last few years but that does not count because it was not winning. Time will tell if it is going to be possible or not," he added.