Roger Federer

Where Will Federer Start His 2021 Season?

Will draconian quarantine rules restrict where the Swiss chooses to play?

At the end of December, it was announced that Roger Federer would be skipping the Australian Open.

Initially, Federer's lack of match fitness was provided as the sole reason, but it didn't take long for some more tidbits of information to filter through various media channels.

One such bit of info was that Australia's strict quarantine measures also played a part in Federer's decision to give the Sunshine Slam a miss. Hardly surprising.

Speaking to the Brazilian website Band Sports, former pro and now Head of Player Liaison for Tennis Australia, Andre Sa, revealed he had spoken to Federer on the phone about his participation in Melbourne.

According to Sa, alongside his fitness, the draconian quarantine rules, enforced by a government that has become increasingly authoritarian over the last decade, were also a major reason to give Melbourne Park a hard pass.

While the players will be allowed to leave their hotel rooms for five hours every day during quarantine to practice, that doesn't extend to the player's entourages. That apparently would not work with Mirka and their four children who would be couped in a hotel room for 14 days.

The main reason was the quarantine. I talked to him a month ago, and he had two options. He could come with the whole family and quarantine them. The problem is that Mirka (Federer's wife) and her children couldn't leave the room. They would have to stay 14 days in the room. The exception is only for players. He could go out, train, and come back, but the family couldn't. Mirka did not approve of the idea.

The other option would be for him to come alone. Only there would be at least five weeks away from family and children. And he said: “Dude, 39, four kids, 20 Grand Slams. I am no longer in a position to be away from my family for five weeks.” Andre Sa, Head of Player Liaison for Tennis Australia

Where Will Federer Start His 2021 Season?

Federer Dubai 2017 2nd Round

That decision raises the question of where Federer will start his 2021 season. Virtually all of the Western World is following the same playbook regarding travel restrictions, flawed PCR testing requirements and quarantine rules. So which events can Federer take part in?

One likely start would be in Dubai, where the Swiss is currently practising. That ATP 500 is scheduled to take place on 15th March.

Given that's two months away, what about before then assuming Federer is ready to play competitively?

Neighbouring Qatar also hosts the Qatar ExxonMobil Open the week before but are back to back tournaments realistic on the comeback trail? Probably not.

Rotterdam? That would mean a trip back to Europe, but given Federer is an EU Citizen that shouldn't be too problematic assuming the Netherlands doesn't bring in stricter border controls or quarantine rules.

Hopefully, whatever happens, the restrictions don't limit where Federer can play this season, and we will see him at several events, including the grass courts of Halle and Wimbledon.

But with governments seemingly hell-bent on sticking to measures that have yet to produce any evidence they work despite being enforced for nearly a year, it's difficult to foresee the Swiss playing as much as he'd like to after missing virtually all of last season.

Where do you think Federer will kick off his 2021 season? 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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37 Comments

  1. My suggestion would be Montellier/Rotterdam/Dubai/Miami.

    I know a bit risky and a packed programm, on the other hand he needs matches and in case he has to leave ealrly a few tournaments in row would make sense to avoid too big gaps without further matches.

    I like the idea of starting with a small 250 Event to biuild up confidence…

  2. Sorry, my text was full of errors:

    My suggestion would be Montpellier/Rotterdam/Dubai/Miami.

    I know a bit risky and quite a packed programm, on the other hand Roger needs matches and in case he has to leave one of this tournaments early the plan of a few tournaments in row would make sense to avoid too big gaps without further matches.

    I like the idea of starting with a small 250 Event to build up confidence…

  3. For Katyani’s sake, I hope he plays Rotterdam and she has front row seats.
    Fed is that much older and smaller tournaments might be a good start. I’m looking forward to watching some tennis at the AO.

  4. Rotterdam or Dubai should be ok need some 500 or 250 tournament to play for first comeback after long break at this age

  5. Think he’ll want to start somewhere where he feels comfortable and can potentially gain points so Rotterdam makes sense then move onto Dubai. Then hopefully he has a few matches under his belt for Miami. Wouldn’t surprise me if he plays a random exhibition (only if fans are allowed ofcourse)

  6. Because of the last suggestions about Fed skipping AO because of restrictions making it impossible to travel with the family, I would assume, everything depends on what restrictions will happen to every single tournament. If this was the reason for him skipping AO, it’s hard to predict, how the situation will look like for other tournaments, especially in UK, Germany, Spain, France, US.
    IMO there is no any single tournament in the calendar, which will for sure not fall. Some may go under strict bubble, without crowds, with very limited numbers of team members ( resulting in no family).
    First to be cancelled is Tokyo, one of Fed’s main goals.
    Everything can change after Fed&Family are all vaccinated (if they plan it at all). And Swiss authorities are promising, every willing Swiss will be vaccinated by summer (whatever this exactly means.
    The only thing we know for sure is, we don’t know anything 🙁
    I’m even not sure if AO will not cancelled after a week of initial quarantine.

  7. It’s certainly a dilemma regarding the timing of the surface swings. Now that he’s missing AO there’s only really Miami left as a significant HC tournament until late summer, so, what to do?
    On the one hand, he needs matches, and the fact he’s based in the Gulf means that a Doha/Dubai double-header would be ideal.
    On the other hand, Maybe he should just forget HC until August/Sept and start his tour in South America since we’ll be entering the Clay swing from April anyway. Makes no sense to play a few HC tournaments and then have a two-month break until the Grass comes around.

    1. Clay has no sense at all for a player. who’s only (but big) problem is the movement. Federer does not need matches. He needs to be fresh before grass and not risk any setback in his recovery. Grass is the surface, where Federer’s hand magic means more than movement and Federer is the best mover just on grass. I mean, he would have the same problems with movement on grass like on any other surface but opponents are not that good movers on grass as they are on other surfaces. Head and hands is where Federer is better than anyone else , especially on grass (on other surfaces maybe Djokovic is comparable in this aspect.).
      My guess is, he plays Dubai, maybe Rotterdam, than skips everything before grass. If conditions allow and tournaments are not cancelled, RLC and Tokyo. Period.

      1. What’s the point in playing 1-2 tournaments and then having another two-month break? There’s a big difference between being fresh and ring-rusty, and two tournaments in 16-17 months is far from ideal prep for a major — no matter how good a record he has there.

        Even though clay is not his preferred surface, so long as his goes into it with few expectations, doesn’t push himself too hard, and with the primary aim being to get matches under his belt, he should be fine. Besides, a few weeks in Argentina/Chile will do his brand no harm at all either.

        Sadly though, and despite the folly of it for the aforementioned reasons, I think he’ll end up playing Dubai and Miami only (maybe Rotterdam too) before hitting the grass, although obviously a lot will depend on the respective restrictions in place at the time.

      2. Good point about AO ’17 but coming back after a six-month gap at 35 and a 16-month one at 39/40 are different beasts. You can’t just rely on talent and ‘magic’ alone.

        Regardless my thoughts, I can’t see him playing on the dirt much (if at all) and with that in mind, as per my 1st comment, a Gulf-double would be perfect to get his career restarted with.

        Regarding your comment about not having anything to fight for — he’s a serial champ, with a naturally competitive spirit, who’s broken numerous records, so even if he does win Wimby and the Olympics, he’ll always want more, especially with those two junkyard dogs breathing down his neck.

      3. @Will
        You will (!) maybe laugh, but I will (!) apply the same argumentation again. Re “six-month gap at 35 and a 16-month one at 39/40 are different beasts”. It’s again the same. This may apply to everyone but there is a big chance it doesn’t for Federer. Of course there are some limits. But so far we don’t know, where the limits for Federer are.
        And I don’t think, Federer cares much about numbers of big titles. Some day he decides, there are many other interesting things in life (“FAMILY FIRST!”???) and winning slams can start to be boring. And he decides to start to do different things. And he must not feel it to be “retirement”, but simply another choice for another part of life. I guess, Federer is not a one-dimensional guy. Imagine, Federer turns 60 and can still win slams. Should he? Only for record books? Meanwhile his wife is 60+ and his kids are 20+ and long gone their own ways. And Federer staying still as record-maker in tennis?
        And for us fans we should think about another truth of life. Should Federer win all slams every year over 20 years, would it be still fun to watch? To watch numbers yes, but to watch matches? If something goes well every-time you do it, it may be fine but you have no more fun 😉

  8. Since the PCR test is flawed, why don’t you tell the Office for National Statistics that? They did a study on it showing a false positive rate of 0.005%. Who to believe, the ONS or a bunch of massively discredited lockdown sceptics? Tough question.

    On Roger’s season, a Dubai start would probably make the most sense given he has a house there and could just go train in the perfect environment to prepare.

    1. Yeah, some think, the more tests you do, the better (by (political) definition. Just like with flu. An experienced doctor can knows how to heal you and all he needs are symptoms, because there is no medicament against viruses. If you have no clinical symptoms, you are healthy or …. dead 😉 Both don’t need tests or cure.
      Mass vaccination is another thing, because any other vaccination may he important for individuals but not for epidemic.

    2. Mass antibody testing was a good idea at first, but it’s been shown that many people have a background immunity to this disease, and they fight the disease via t-cell immunity. So it will tell you very little as they do not produce antibodies. Antibodies also drop quickly after infection so you won’t get a good picture. My assumption would be many many people have pre-existing immunity to this disease due to exposure to other coronaviruses, it seems very plausible. I can’t prove it of course, but I am sure it will be revealed eventually. Unless it is suppressed like more science seems to be.

      Other drugs like HCQ and Ivermectin are unfortunately too cheap 😀 The way HCQ was politicized is embarrassing. Prophylactics should definitely be used. I believe Doctors with less to lose (i.e. private practice) etc are using them effectively and saving lives. The WHO sponsored prelim study of ivermectin shows it’s effective.

    3. To my knowledge PCR was not developed to test RNA virus infections (being primarily a DNA-test), but was developed of late to be able to test for RNA. If I remember well, it’s meant to have accuracy of around 70% (!). And even if it has only 0.005 false positives, maybe it has more false negatives?
      Who to believe? that’s the question. I guess, the best you believe (because the belief is individual) in harmony with your instinct and emotions, because belief is more about emotions than about facts (BTW – what’s actually “fact”?). I’m in the lucky position of someone without a need to believe or not. I’m living since 20 years in the forest with almost no contact with humans, I can’t get infected from my dog or wildlife around (theoretically yes). I could be a subject of some conspiracy theories, because I have chosen the strictest lock-down ever but I’m who decides about “terms and conditions” 😉

      1. Yes, the sensitivity is not necessarily that high, and false negatives are a bigger problem than false positives.

    4. ‘[False positives are] clearly a huge problem’. That’s your opinion. There is no evidence to support this whatsoever. The ONS calculated it by looking at the number of positives they got in the summer (apologies I misremembered, it was 0.04%, but it doesn’t change the conclusion). They did hundreds of thousands of tests and found very few positives. If you assume that all of those tests are false positives, that’s your absolute upper bound on false positive rate: 0.04%. Apply that to the 500k tests per day done in the UK, and you would get around 200 false positives, compared to the 50k positives.

      Even if somehow something has changed with the testing process, including the ONS survey to mean that that is no longer accurate, you would not expect to see significant numbers of excess ICU admissions (London has 33% more ICU beds occupied than last winter). False positivitis does not lead to admissions to intensive care.

    5. @PRF

      We do have drugs to treat viruses, what gave you the idea that there aren’t any? People with HIV take anti-retroviral drugs, which suppress the replication of HIV. That’s just one example.

    6. The same Lancet that published a completely made up study on HCQ? 😁 Based on what you’ve spouted so far I would imagine you’re a big believer in remdesvir.

      Look at the Bavaria link. 58 out of 60 were wrong. The test is being used in a completely non standardised manner.

      And if you put the issue % stat of ‘false positive’ aside due to lab issues etc my bigger issue is all the cases that have zero clinical significance? They shouldn’t even be classified as cases.

      Why not check on the 50k positives in 10 days and see what happened to them? How many are actually ill or developed symptoms?

      Mass PCR testing is one of the biggest flaws in this pandemic and tells you nothing. Mullis knew it should never be used for determining infectious diseases. The packaging on the tests still says it, and I see the WHO reiterate this in their recent bulletin. It should end tomorrow.

    7. @Jonathan

      Let’s wait for the numbers on the excess deaths, and I think I’ve already said enough on testing, I don’t think either of us are going to change our minds.

      As for the Nightingales, I do agree that was gross negligence. There was never any point building them. I was reading that each London hospital has been asked for 22 staff for the Nightingale, so the obvious response is, ‘where do we get the staff’? It’s been a total waste.

      1. The London Nightingale, at least, has been reopened – but what I understood from the news last night was, only for non-Covid cases, presumably to prevent them from getting infected. Or for people with other ailments who are due to be released soon.

      2. @Alison

        It’s good that they’ve found a few spare staff. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the scale of the building (originally for 4,000 beds), was never going to be practical to use to its full capacity.

    1. Right. Switzerland is not an EU-member, has only some bilateral agreements, including Schengen membership.
      Don’t know, what was Jonathan’s idea – maybe that Federer can travel over Europe (EU) without pass control, needing visas a.s.o. But it’s not the same as citizenship.
      If epidemic restrictions, including quarantine, were meant, they are issued by individual countries, not by EU and can be directed against specific other countries, so what would be to check, is (at the time of the tournament) if Holland has no restrictions affecting Swiss.
      In worst case it’s then about quarantine or “special exemptions” 😉

    2. Yeah I am about as accurate as the PCR test, I meant Schengen area, which makes travel much easier during corona times. Travelling on a British passport, for example, is trickier at the moment, but I get by 🙂

  9. I think he’ll be playing Doha, Dubai, Halle, Wimbledon, Olympics, Rogers Cup, Western & Southern Open, US Open, Laver Cup, Shanghai, Basel and Paris. Maybe Miami and Stuttgart.

  10. Accoding to
    https://www.tennisnet.com/news/roger-federer-comeback-in-doha-auftritte-auf-sand-sind-geplant
    our man confirms his comeback in Doha.
    Following the interview with swiss television he will take it one step after the other (which means even Dubai the week after is not 100% save).
    He intends to play even on clay but his priorities are Halle/Wimbledon/Olympics and US Open.
    “His body is ready and so is his mind to take the long road again reaching for big titles”…
    Chum Jetze Roger 💪

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