Tennis

Crushing Roger Federer news confirmed

Tennis fans Down Under have been dealt a crushing blow as Roger Federer’s team revealed he plans to skip the Australian Open.

AP reports the Swiss maestro will miss the first grand slam of 2021 as he continues to recover from two knee operations.

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Federer’s manager Tony Godsick said the tennis legend won’t rush back to the court for the tournament at Melbourne Park, which is scheduled to begin on February 8.

“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open,” Godsick told AP in a statement.

“He has made strong progress in the last couple of months with his knee and his fitness. However, after consultation with his team, he decided that the best decision for him in the long run is to return to competitive tennis after the Australian Open.

“I will start discussions this coming week for tournaments that begin in late February and then start to build a schedule for the rest of the year.”

Earlier this month Federer warned he was in a “race against time” to be fit after two rounds of knee surgery, which saw him pull out of much of 2020 — even before COVID-19 caused havoc with the schedule.

The Australian Open was supposed to begin in January but because of pandemic-related complications, was pushed back until early February. It was hoped the delay would give Federer enough time to recover from his injuries and take part in the major but sadly, that isn’t the case.

Federer will be sorely missed.Source:AFP

Shortly before Christmas Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said he had been in touch with the 39-year-old and he was going through his normal pre-season training routine in Dubai.

“Every player, including Roger, has made a commitment to travel to Melbourne to play,” Tiley said a week ago.

“He did say to us that February 8 was a more suitable date for him in terms of preparing for the Australian Open … but a lot will depend on how he responds to his surgery in the next two to three weeks of training.”

Federer has won the Australian Open six times but after losing in the 2020 semi-final to Novak Djokovic, missed the rest of the interrupted 2020 season following surgery and could only watch as Rafael Nadal matched his record 20 grand slam titles with a 13th victory at the French Open.

Meanwhile, many of the world’s top players have committed to playing the Australian Open including Djokovic, Ash Barty and Serena Williams.

All players must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival, during which they will constantly be tested for COVID-19 but allowed to train for five hours a day in a bio-secure bubble.

“Although the AO will look a bit different to previous years, the safety of everyone is our top priority,” Tiley said last week.

“We have the opportunity to stage a very safe, and happy slam, and give the players the experience of competing in front of crowds again, something they’ve missed for most of this year.”

The men’s and women’s qualifiers will be held in Doha and Dubai respectively from January 10-13, with players arriving in Melbourne from January 15 on special charter flights.

With AFP

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