Australian OpenRoger Federer

Roger Federer to Skip Australian Open

The first Grand Slam of the year will not be part of Federer's 2021 schedule

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Australian Open in Melbourne as he continues his recovery from two operations on his right knee that kept him out for most of 2020.

The news came via the Australian Open Tournament Director, Craig Tiley, who revealed the six-time champion would not participate.

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. The Australian Open has always held a special pace in his heart – remember it was Roger who first called the AO the ‘Happy Slam'. We wish him ll the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year and look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022. Craig Tiley, Australian Open Tournament Director

Federer Will Continue to Train in Dubai

Federer Ao Withdraw 2021

Federer arrived in Dubai earlier this month in a bid to ramp up his training to get ready for the Australian Open.

While the intensity of practice has increased, news from the Federer camp revealed that he was somewhat behind schedule.

The 3 weeks push back of the Australian Open certainly gave him more time to prepare, but after the first week of his typical winter training block, it's clear the body is not quite ready to play competitive tennis. 

Rather than head to Melbourne, the Swiss will continue to train in Dubai and map out a schedule for the rest of the year.

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. Tony Godsick, Federer's Agent

The news doesn't come as a huge surprise given the tidbits of information we've heard over the last few weeks.

I was optimistic back in November when practice intensity had increased but given Federer had only played few practice sets against Ivo Heuberger rather than fly in some tougher opposition to Switzerland, he was obviously behind schedule.

Since then, I've heard practice has been going ok, but his level nor fitness is there, and he's not winning too many practice sets.

What do you guys think of the news? Did it come as a surprise? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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56 Comments

  1. Not surprised. Wld hv been a huge gamble to go all the way there semi fit. Summer always the priority. Hoping he actually plays Dubai too, as I hear it’s been pushed back too.

  2. Not a great surprise.I have a feeling that 2021 might be the year Fed retires.
    Sadly tennis is not nearly so interesting when is not playing.
    There is absolutely no one else with his style or presence,in my opinion.

    1. There might not be anyone else with Federer’s style and all court game but there are two guys named Nadal and Djokovic who have been just as successful with their own styles and game in winning 20 and 17 Grand Slam singles titles respectively.

    2. I think Stefanos Tsitsipas has a similar style to Federer but Tsitsipas needs to find a way to come to the net more to put away volleys because he is a good volleyer. He has the potential to win Grand Slam singles titles in the future if he has the belief so that he can come up with more winners against the best players.
      Alexander Zverev is another player like Federer, who has an all court game and who likes to get to the net to put away volleys. He is another player who has the game to win Grand Slam titles in the future.
      Denis Shapavolov is another all court player with style and is interesting to watch. I greatly admire his powerful topspin backhand and powerful topspin forehand and his net game. He also has the potential to win Grand Slam singles titles. He just needs a bit more consistency.
      Of course, Shapavolov, Zverev and Tsitsipas will have better chances to win Grand Slam singles titles once all three of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have retired.

      1. Somehow you forgot Thiem, who is IMO the most stylish and perfectionist player after Roger and Rafa.
        The only common thing with Federer for Tsitsipas and Shapovalow is the SHBH. Zverev has nothing . Only the height. Nice guy but no chance he has ever a style. His “style” is even more boring than Murray’s.

      2. Zverev’s game is nothing like Fed’s. Waits far too long to hit the ball, rarely flattens it out and uneasy at net. Barely any player takes the ball as early as Fed and is as aggressive. Sinner is the one I hv my eye on. ( and Musetti too). Earlier ball and effortless power. Stef does hv a all court game but room to improve his court craft, and serve motion. Hoping Medvedev gets a slam next year. Fed has committed to Laver Cup 2021 and 22 but we shall see. Depends on that knee. Reduced movement? No more Fed :((

      3. I don’t see any similarities between current players and how Fed plays. Take it early, on the rise, fairly conservative forehand grip. Who does that?

    3. Annie, although he retired a long time ago, I honestly admired John McEnroe’s game and style when he was at his peak. He had presence and made tennis very interesting to watch. The same applied to the great Rod Laver, who won the calendar Grand Slam twice in 1962 and 1969 and who played a very similar game to Federer, with a wooden racquet. Laver won 11 Grand Slam singles titles and could have at least doubled that total had he not turned professional, as he was not allowed to play as a professional in any Grand Slam tournaments from to 1963 to 1968 inclusive.

      1. Yes,I remember McEnroe well,those tremendous battles with Borg,two great players with
        such different personalities and styles.It was such a pity when Borg retired at 26 -an age
        when nowadays most players are just getting going!

  3. It did come as a surprise as I thought Federer was going to play the Australian Open, having been confirmed recently as playing that event. To be honest, it would not surprise me if he announces his retirement from professional tennis before the French Open. The game has become far more physical since Ken Rosewall and Jimmy Connors were playing professional tennis at the same as age as Federer is now and even older for Rosewall.
    Unless you are close to 100 per cent fit for a 39 year old and have had good match practice in lead up tournaments, Federer cannot expect to go far in the remains Grand Slam singles tournaments in 2020. Movement is so important nowadays, regardless of the talent that Federer has. Wimbledon could be his best chance if fit but he would really need to be mostly at the net to win but his nemesis at Wimbledon, Djokovic, will place the ball to make it very hard for Fed to get to the net consistently and he will give Federer tough volleys, should they meet again in the final or earlier.

    1. We don’t know, what a surprise Federer can bring up to the table, so he can win most points in 1-3 shots. Maybe dropshot-return (think on the Frenchman Gaston, who eliminated Stan and almost eliminated Thiem from the French, with his only skill to hit crazy dropshots – well, he is also a big runner and can defend a lot, even so hard shots as Stan’s and Thiem’s), maybe completely new racket (double-bed Blackburn or so) or “self-running” shoes 😉

  4. Having a “delay” in recovery even with AO pushed back by 3 weeks does not mean, Roger turned lazy. It’s either he cannot accept to travel without family and hopes, until Wimbledon/Olympics) the pandemic is over (which is not very realistic). Or he is having another setback in the recovery. I mean, with the medical status of his body. He is not only running out of AO deadline. What could he plan for 2021 before Wimbledon? Then still not knowing, if he is really recovered until he plays under competitive load.
    RLC would be good opportunity, but it’s too late to be season’s start and who can tell how pandemic in US looks like at this time. Would RLC have sense in a bubble-mode?
    BTW – I’m not even sure, if AO will not be cancelled, should there happen something similar to UK right now. And Australia would not wait until 50,000 cases a day. 100 would be disaster and AO can have a last minute cancellation.

      1. It’s not about what we think but what politicians think. Australia gets 100% lock-down for 5 months because of some 10-20 cases in Melbourne or in the whole state 😉
        If Australians felt like you, they never had an epidemic, why the delay, 14 days quarantine a.s.o.?

      2. Global reset? Who knows.

        Australia has to keep closed otherwise they will get cases, outside early border control, you cannot stop a virus. It will become endemic across the world, except those places that have to remain shut. There is no way out.

        Like an Amazon tribe who has had no human contact ever, so when westerners come across them, a disease can wipe them out.

    1. PRF, your analysis is crap. Australia has had no covid community cases for over 50 days. The AO will definitely go ahead on February 8, 2021.

      1. We can not only analyze what happened so far. We can also predict some aspects of the future. Hysteric lock-downs is a big trap and a mental illness worse than Covid. And this is what they have. And nobody knows, if they are not just “before” the pandemic? Something comes via e-mail or with the bushfire smokes running over the world and coming back (C9-loaded).

      2. Australia and NZ will have to remain closed, otherwise, they will get the cases that the rest of the world has had. You can’t suppress or beat a virus.

        The AO will go ahead I am sure.

  5. BTW – according to my “plan” Federer has still one slam to win. Why? When he won AO 2017 (GS no. 17), I was just arranging a feeding place for wild in the forest near me. I have made an inscription (with saw chain) on a big rough board placed at the wild’s paradise telling “Roger Federer Square 18…), meaning 18. title and counting. 18 plus 3 points = 21. So far he has done 3 and one is still to come 🙂

    1. Hello PRF,
      Happy new year.
      Interested to hear about your feeding place in the forest.
      What kind of wildlife do you have there?

      1. You may want to watch here http://prf-mypassions-tennisandmore.com/wildlife/ (if Jonathan accepts the link to my blog. Lots of photos and video clips. My blog is mainly about Thiem. I think, it was Susie, irritated by my posts, who encouraged me to start the blog 🙂 I have there links to every match of Thiem since 2018, of course including those vs. Federer 🙂

      1. Not so deep as I would wish to, Jonathan. But enough to skip all lock-downs and restrictions. I’m more closed than Australia 😉

  6. Well, most of the gang is here! Happy New Year! Jonathan, I see you still have the 2019 leader board posted?
    Disappointing but not unexpected. How ironic that Fed will retire with bad knees and Nadal is humming along on his
    supposed “bad” knees.
    Beautiful photo at the top of the post. Oh….art in motion. How does that go…hope for the best and expect the worst.

    1. Happy new year to you Sue.
      I seem to remember Dame Edna Everedge(of all people)saying:Expect the worst,hope for the best and take what comes.Not a bad philosophy really.
      Yes,Nadals knees are holding up well.😎
      Unfortunately when surgery becomes necessary it does seem to signal the end of tennis careers,
      Murray and Stan for instance.Perhaps Fed will return rejuvenated,who knows,let’s hope so.

      1. Maybe not literally rejuvenated. But probably with a new bag of surprises in his game, reducing his effort in running and hitting very hard balls (like Thiem’s).

  7. Good call skipping Australian Open. It does take a lot to make the trip to the AO and back for other tournaments. During Covid lockdowns and 2 week quarantine not to mention a knee not 100% playing a tournament on a slow surface which at best gives him a chance to make the QF or semis given the competition, not worth it. Better to give the knee more time to heal and get back into shape practicing and focusing on winning Wimbledon 2021. Wish he won last year’s Wimby, but no point talking about it now.

    1. Yeah I think the travel thing will also play a part. Limited team

      Australia is operating like an authoritarian state, I am surprised how accepting people are of these measures but fear has clearly worked.

  8. Just out of interest I have just read John Bercows book-Tennis Maestros,in which he discusses the twenty greatest
    Tennis players of all time.(In his opinion of course).
    In the final chapter he has a subjective list of the twenty in order of ‘greatness’.
    You may be pleased to know that Fed is number one,Nadal two.Djoker is 16, but the book was written in 2014 and many of his great achievements were yet to come.
    For those not aware John Bercow was until recently the speaker of the House of Commons and can often be seen at
    Feds matches.He is a keen tennis player himself.

    1. IMO the greatness in sports should not be measured by achievements (= titles, ranking positions a.s.o.) but by charismatic style and personality, especially in tennis. Some have for different reasons short careers and no time to reach big numbers. In terms of “all time” I would take Federer, McEnroe, Borg, Kuerten, Rod Laver, Nadal, maybe some others, if I take time to recall everyone, I could watch in my life. Never Djokovic, who is perfect, but have no style and no personality.

    1. Rather sad,but like politics most athletic careers ultimately end in failure or decline.
      However Fed has vast wealth,personal happiness,a wonderful career.Not bad for a forty year old.
      And he perhaps isn’t finished yet.One thing all Fed fans know is that you cannot write him off.😊

  9. Bummer. I’m disappointed not to have AO to look forward to ☹️ Any tournament is so much better with Roger in the draw! Not surprised though, the hints were there from various interviews.

  10. Roger’ll make it, he’ll be where he needs to be come Wimbledon and Tokyo. He’s smart, and patient. So must we be. We’ll see him again, but not yet.

  11. IMO the greatness in sports should not be measured by achievements (= titles, ranking positions a.s.o.) but by charismatic style and personality, especially in tennis. Some have for different reasons short careers and no time to reach big numbers. In terms of “all time” I would take Federer, McEnroe, Borg, Kuerten, Rod Laver, Nadal, maybe some others, if I take time to recall everyone, I could watch in my life. Never Djokovic, who is perfect, but have no style and no personality.

  12. Made me so sad.
    Not being able to recover for so long is not a good sign.
    Roger gave us the illusion that some things last for ever.

    I hope he has just a little more magic.

    1. Some say, Fed is well recovered and prepared, but cannot accept (maybe family decision) the sanitary regime of Australian Closed.

      1. That makes no sense to me. We all knew from at least the summer that the rules in Australia would be strict. Why would he say he would play and then at the 11th hour change that decision.

  13. Hey all, again a voice from the past 🙂 Hope you all had lovely Christmas days and wishing you and all of us a happy, healthier and greater 2021 🙂 Not that that will be difficult, I think everything is better than what we endured during 2020 🙂

    I am sad that Roger won’t play AO. I looked for to it and I even took the two weeks off from work…. Ofcourse now I don’t need to… But just like the most handsome man in the world, I am not giving up. Roger will be back. He, Seve, Ivan and his team know what is best and that playing matches later on will be better.

    And who knows, he might consider playing ATP Rotterdam 🙂 🙂 🙂 Fingers crossed 🙂

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