20-time Grand Slam title winner, Roger Federer will not be playing in the 2021 Australian Open. After 21 consecutive appearances, this will be the first time the tennis champion is missing the tournament at Melbourne Park. He is a six-time Australian Open champion.
Federer is still preparing for a 2021 return to the tennis court, following his two right-knee operations. Tony Godsick, Federer’s long-time representative released a statement, “Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open. 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”. While his off-season training is still underway, his decision to forgo the Australian Open is supported by coaches Severin Luth, Ivan Ljubicic, and Pierre Paganini.
The athlete has not played a tournament match since the January 2020 Australian Open and only appeared for an exhibition charity event with Rafael Nadal in Cape Town, South Africa soon after. His two surgeries came weeks later, forcing him to miss the rest of the pandemic-altered season. Despite the fall in ATP world ranking to No. 5 due to his hiatus, Federer has still managed to spend more weeks atop the rankings than anyone else. His popularity with the fans remains as he was voted the winner of the ATP Tour fans’ favorite award, making this his 18th consecutive win in this category.
While Federer has been recuperating, Nadal equaled his 20-title Grand Slam win at the Roland Garros this October. Novak Djokovic‘s win in the 2020 Australian Open has also shifted him closer to the other members of the Big Three of men’s tennis, with a total of 17 wins. Check out the statement sent out by the Australian Open down below.