Roger Federer set for early return at Miami Open

Roger Federer has not played a tennis match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

Roger Federer is set to make an earlier than expected return from knee surgery at the Miami Open next week.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion suffered the injury the day after his semifinal defeat to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January.

Having originally targeted a return at Indian Wells, he announced last month that he would miss the first Masters event of the season, which ends on Sunday.

He also revealed he had entered Monte Carlo, which marks the beginning of the European clay season in April, and that that had been expected to be his first tournament back.

Because of his age and experience, Federer, 34, is not bound by the rules of mandatory events, and it was anticipated he would repeat his 2015 schedule and skip Miami.

But tellingly, he did not take his name off the entry list. On Thursday, he appeared to confirm on Twitter with a series of emojis that he will be playing in Miami after all.

Federer is a two-time champion at Crandon Park, but the last of those titles came a decade ago.