A Tennis Australia official has revealed to the Herald and The Age that the organization attempted to lure Roger Federer to attend this year's Australian Open. Federer, 41, retired from pro tennis in late September at the Laver Cup.
Since retiring, Federer hasn't made any appearances during tournaments - not even in his hometown Basel, which hosted an ATP 500 event in October. Tennis Australia badly wanted to have Federer among its guests for the 2023 Australian Open but the tennis great turned down the invitation.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty - who retired two months after winning the 2022 Australian Open - has confirmed to Tennis Australia that she will be at Melbourne Park this year.
The Australian Open hoping to host Federer in 2024
The 2024 Australian Open will mark the 20th anniversary of Federer's first triumph at Melbourne Park.
In the 2004 Australian Open final, Federer defeated Marat Safin to win his first title in Melbourne. Federer won five more Australian Open titles in the rest of his career as he was also victorious in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017 and 2018.
Whenever Federer decides to return to the Australian Open, Tennis Australia will receive him with open arms. “The welcome mat will always be rolled out for Roger,” a Tennis Australia official told the Herald and The Age.
Federer's last Australian Open appearance came in 2020. Three years ago, Federer made the Australian Open semifinal before suffering a straight-set defeat to Novak Djokovic. At the time, Federer was again starting to experience knee problems and shortly after the 2020 Australian Open he underwent knee surgery.
In the next year and a half, Federer had a total of three knee surgeries. After undergoing his third knee surgery in 2021 August, Federer was hoping to make one final return at one point during the 2022 season. Unfortunately, Federer's knee didn't make a good enough progress and the Swiss returned for just one doubles match at the Laver Cup.