Roger Federer hitting a return against Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their men's singles semi-final match in Melbourne. File/AFP
Gulf Today Report
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer will miss the Australian Open for the first time in his career after two operations on his right knee and a tour absence that will have lasted longer than a year, his agent told media.
According to his representative Tony Godsick that he is working on putting together a 2021 tennis calendar for the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who plans to get back on tour soon after the year’s first major tennis tournament.
"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,” Godsick said.
Organisers also said on Monday that he will continues after his recovery from two rounds of knee surgery.
Roger Federer in action. File photo
The 39-year-old Swiss has been out of action since February but recently resumed training and was on the entry list for year’s opening Grand Slam, which will make a delayed start on Feb.8.
Federer, a huge favourite with the Melbourne crowds, hasn’t missed the Australian Open since his debut in 2000, winning the trophy six times.
“In the end Roger ran out of time to get himself ready for the rigours of a Grand Slam and he’s very disappointed he won’t be coming to Melbourne in 2021,” said tournament chief Craig Tiley.
“We wish him all the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year and look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022.”
Federer sat out most of the Covid-disrupted 2020 season after losing to Novak Djokovic in the Melbourne semis in January, his last competitive match.
He underwent keyhole surgery on his right knee in February, before needing a follow-up operation and calling off his season to recover.
The Swiss could only watch as Rafael Nadal matched his all-time men’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles with a 13th victory at the French Open.
Federer will now concentrate on getting himself ready for the rest of the 2021 season, which includes the Tokyo Olympics and the chance of his first singles gold medal.
“He has made strong progress in the last couple of months with his knee and his fitness,” his agent Tony Godsick said in a statement.
“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,” Godsick added.
Novak Djokovic set a new landmark of 311 weeks as world number one on Monday, one week longer than Roger Federer whose tally of a record 20 Grand Slam titles is now firmly in the Serb’s sights. “Big day today”, tennis superstar wrote on Twitter.
Novak Djokovic says next week’s Australian Open is wide open and while bookmakers see the seven-times champion as the hot favourite the Serb expects the current crop
The ageless Swiss great, 38, said ahead of the tournament that he had low expectations at the year's opening Grand Slam after missing the warm-up ATP Cup to spend more time with his family.
The Federal Court also rejected the argument there was no evidence that Djokovic had ever urged anyone not to get vaccinated, saying it was open to infer that the public would perceive that he was opposed to vaccinations, since he said he had not been vaccinated.
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