The 34-year-old Swiss star underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus sustained the day after his semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January and had been expected to be sidelined for a month.
But world number three Federer said Friday that he will skip the Indian Wells Masters in March and return to action in Monte Carlo at the start of the claycourt season.
“The rehab for my knee is going really well. I have now had a lot of great practices on the court and in the gym. As it is a long year, I don’t want to push it too hard and come back too soon,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page alongside a slow-motion video of him hitting a serve.
“Thus, I will unfortunately not be able to make it back in time for the great event in Indian Wells but I do plan on playing in the desert next year.
“After consultation with my team, I have decided to enter the Monte Carlo Masters. Thanks for the support and I will see you back on tour soon.”
The Monte Carlo Masters gets underway on April 10.