Despite initial reports that Roger Federer would make his comeback at the Australian Open 2021, the man himself has confirmed that this might not be the case.
It seems like this may be the end of the road for tennis legend Roger Federer, who has been out of the circuit for almost the entirety of this year. Despite initial reports that the Swiss Maestro would make his comeback at the Australian Open in 2021, the man himself has confirmed that this might not be the case. This is sure to be a huge blow to the first Grand Slam of the year, which is already beset with scheduling and financial problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at an award ceremony in Switzerland on Sunday, Roger Federer has revealed that his knees may not heal in time for him to participate at the Australian Open 2021. The former No.1, who underwent two knee surgeries this year, has not played a single match since his semi-final defeat to current No.1 Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open 2020. “I would have hoped that I would be 100% in October. But I am still not today. It will be tight for the Australian Open,” the 39-year-old said.
With Tennis Australia still dilly-dallying on the Australian Open 2021 schedule amid talks with the Victoria government, it seems that a delayed Australian Open is most likely. Federer also remarked on how a slightly later start to the tournament may help his chances of a comeback, saying, “It’s a race against time for the Australian Open. I’m curious to see whether it will start on February 8. Of course, it would help if I had a bit more time”. However, he did concede that even with this delay, he may not be able to play in Melbourne next year.
If he sits out, this will be Federer's first year without a main draw appearance at the Australian Open since 1999 when he lost in round one of qualifying. It will also break his record streak of 21 consecutive years at the slam, where he has won 6 of his 20 Grand Slam titles - including his latest one, in 2018. In his speech, Federer, also said that "I hope there is still something to see from me next year, but if that was it, that would have been an incredible ending for me at these sports awards".
Coming into 2021, Federer has said that his priorities will be Wimbledon, the US Open and the Tokyo Olympics, where he will be bidding for the one major that has eluded him so far - an Olympic Gold. Federer has been lucky to have gotten injured when he did, as the ATP's pandemic protections for rankings in 2020 meant that he did not lose his place in the top five despite playing just 6 matches in the year. Starting the year at No.3 Federer is set to begin 2021 as the World No.5.
Six-time champion Roger Federer will miss the Australian Open for the first time in his career as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.
The 39-year-old Swiss, a 20-time Grand Slam winner, has not played since January because of two operations.
He hoped to return at the delayed Australian Open, which starts on 8 February in Melbourne.
"Roger ran out of time to get himself ready for the rigours of a Grand Slam," said tournament director Craig Tiley.
Federer has played in the Australian Open 21 years in a row, but his agent said missing the tournament was "the best decision for him in the long run".
Federer's most recent last competitive match was a semi-final defeat by eventual champion Novak Djokovic in this year's Australian Open.
In February, Federer had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
He hoped to return in July, but in June he had another operation that ruled him out for the rest of 2020.
This month Federer said he faced a "tight" race to be fit for the Australian Open, despite the tournament being pushed back three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Analysis Tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
Federer has been training in Dubai but, even with a three-week delay to the Australian Open, will not be ready in time.
Very few will be looking forward to the two weeks' quarantine in Australia, during which players must stay in their rooms for 19 hours a day.
But it must be even more unappealing for older players with families - and especially for those still striving for full fitness.
Federer's agent Tony Godsick says he will "start discussions this coming week for tournaments that begin in late February".
There is not yet an official schedule, but playing an indoor event in Europe before heading to Dubai, where Federer is an eight-time champion, would seem an ideal way to resume.
He has played sparingly on the clay in recent years, with Wimbledon and the US Open likely to be his main goals for 2021.
Six-time champion Roger Federer will miss the Australian Open for the first time in his career as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.The 39-year-old Swiss, a 20-time Grand Slam winner, has not played since January because of two operations.H