Roger Federer To Skip 2021 Australian Open – Roger is withdrawing from the Australian Open while he continues preparing to return to action after two operations on his right knee and a tour absence which will have lasted longer than a year, his agent told The Associated Press.
Tony Godsick—Federer’s long-time representative and CEO of their management company, TEAM8—said Sunday he’s performing on producing a 2021 tennis calendar for the 20-time slam champion, who plans to urge back on the road soon after the year’s first major tennis tournament.
This ends Federer’s streak of 21 consecutive appearances at Melbourne Park, a run that began together with his 2000 debut there and includes six championships.
“Roger has decided to not play the 2021 Australian Open. He has made strong progress within the last few months together with his knee and his fitness. However, after consultation together with his team, he decided that the simplest decision for him within the end of the day is to return to competitive tennis after the Australian Open,” Godsick said during a statement sent to the AP.
“I will start discussions this coming week for tournaments that begin in late February then start to create a schedule for the remainder of the year,” Godsick said.
The start of the Australian Open’s main draw was delayed by three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic and is now scheduled to start on Feb. 8. In other news associated with the tournament, Tennis Australia announced that five-time runner-up Andy Murray was given a wild-card entry.
Murray, a three-time major champion and former No. 1, is 122nd within the rankings after browsing two hip operations and considering retirement.
The 39-year-old Federer, who has spent more weeks atop the ATP rankings than anyone else but is now perched at No. 5 in the rankings post his recent absence. Federer is currently training in his usual offseason home in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The choice to delay his comeback came with input from coaches Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic and fitness coach Pierre Paganini.
Federer hasn’t played a tournament match since late January at the 2020 Australian Open, where he was clearly injured while losing in straight sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic within the semifinals. Soon after, Federer participated in an exhibition charity event with Rafael Nadal ahead of a record tennis crowd of quite 50,000 people at a soccer stadium in Cape Town, South Africa .
Just weeks later, Federer announced he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and would be sidelined for a minimum of four months. He later had a second procedure thereon knee and aroused missing the remainder of the pandemic-altered season.
One measure of Federer’s popularity: Despite appearing in just six matches in 2020, he recently was voted the winner of the ATP Tour fans’ favorite award for the 18th consecutive time.
While Federer was sidelined this year, Nadal equaled his men’s record for many major championships by collecting his 20th at Roland Garros in October. Federer posted a congratulatory message on social media to Nadal that day, saying he hopes “20 is simply another tread on the continuing journey for both folks .”
Djokovic’s Grand Slam title in Australia this year marked his 17th in all and cemented his spot in elite top Three of men’s tennis.
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