Tennis fans of Roger Federer were devastated and heartbroken after the tennis champion confirmed that he would not be competing at the Australian Open in February 2021.
Federer has been recovering from two knee surgeries he underwent during his extended hiatus in 2020. The Swiss champion said he will not be fully fit in time for the season-opening Grand Slam.
The 39-year-old had warned it would be a ‘race against time’ for him to have recovered by the time the Australian Open came around, however it was hoped the delayed start to the tournament would give him extra time needed to prepare.
Tony Godsick, Federer’s long-time manager confirmed the news.
“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open,” he said in a statement sent to AP.
“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.”
Th3 39-year-old fan-favorite, who has spent more weeks atop the ATP ranking than anyone else, now ranks at number 5 after his hiatus. He is currently training in his home in Dubai.
“We wish him all the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in a tweet confirming that Federer pulled out of the field, “and look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022.”
Many fans were devastated that Federer is breaking a 21-year streak of playing at Melbourne Park. They also wished for his full recovery.
Federer had a successful run that began in 2000, and included six championships.
The start of the Australia Open’s main draw was delayed by three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is now scheduled to begin on February 8.
Five-time runner-up Andy Murray was given a wild-card entry for the tournament, according to Tennis Australia.
Murray, a three-time major champion and former number 1, is 122nd in the rankings after going through two hip operations and considering retirement.
Here’s what Federer’s fans have posted on Twitter.
So sad roger federer not playing the Australian open for all them fans who bought tickets see him after difficult year but I expected it really was far to early for him to play after not playing for a year I hope I can see him in @wimbldon 2021 and Basel next year— col (@SEVEismymate) December 27, 2020
This not how 2021 was supposed to start.— Lisa Quake (@LisaQuake) December 28, 2020
Really sad that @rogerfederer will miss the Aussie Open, but health is the most important. All the best with your recovery. Hope to see you soon🙏— Pasha (@pasha_zakr) December 28, 2020