Roger Federer has decided to withdraw his name from the upcoming Australian Open as he still needs time to recover fully from two knee operations that he underwent earlier this year.
The 39-year-old last played a competitive match in the season opening Grand Slam earlier this year in January. He underwent knee operation after that but he had to undergo another one soon as the first one was partially successful.
The start of the Australian Open has now been shifted to February 8 due to the strict border rule in the country to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Initially, Federer had told the organizers that the delayed start to the tournament could benefit him. He had been training at his off-season base in Dubai all this while.
However, Tony Godsick, his agent, released an open statement in which he mentioned that Federer isn’t ready to return to the court yet.
“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open,” Godsick said in the 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.”
Godsick, however, said that Federer could return from late February and he is building a Playing calendar for him.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said that they are disappointed to lose Federer for the 2021 event.
“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,” Tiley said in a statement.
“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 has been participating in the event continuously since 1999. He has made it to the semis 15 times since then and has won six titles as well. The last of those came in 2018. Federer made it to the semifinals this year as well but lost out to eventual winner Novaj Djokovic.