Tennis: Roger Federer withdraws from Australian Open

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By David Awopetu

Six-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer, will miss the 2021 edition of the tournament as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

It will be the first time in his career that Federer has missed the opening Grand Slam of the year, but, having had two operations in 2020, it comes as no real surprise.

The 39-year-old Swiss maestro, who has been out of action since January, had been hoping to return for the delayed tournament, but it proved to be a bridge too far in the end.

Tournament director, Craig Tiley, said “Roger ran out of time to get himself ready for the rigours of a Grand Slam.”

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.

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.

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