There are many reasons of interest that accompany the next edition of the Australian Open. According to the latest rumors released by L’Equipe, the Happy Slam should be organized from 8 to 21 February for reasons related to entry into Australia and mandatory quarantine.
The most anticipated man in Melbourne will once again be Roger Federer, who has been in the pits for almost 11 months to recover from the double right knee surgery he underwent in the spring. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has retained a place in the Top 5 thanks to the new ranking system, but many are wondering if the Swiss phenomenon will be able to get back competitive at almost 40 years old.
The former world number 1 has already stated that his big goal will be to show up in top form at Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, two events that did not take place this year due to the global pandemic. In the latest edition of the 'Match Points' podcast, well-known New York Times journalist Ben Rothenberg - along with Noah Rubin and Marion Bartoli - discussed the future of the 39-year-old Swiss.
Rubin on Roger Federer's return
Ben Rothenberg also feels that 2021 is the last chance for both Roger Federer and Serena Williams to add to their Grand Slam tally, given their age. “Both turn 40 in 2021 I believe,” Rothenberg continued.
“They're in uncharted territory. And it's going to be tough to see what happens with them, if they're able to keep contending, if the rest was good for both of them. Both played a pretty small schedule, even though obviously Serena played more, they both have had time to rest and heal this year.
Is that going to help? Is that going to hurt? I don't know. I think 2021 is probably a last great shot for them to win a 24th Grand Slam for Serena and a 21st for Roger”. World No. 250 Noah Rubin, however, was far more skeptical of Roger Federer's chances in 2021.
Rubin questioned the 39-year-old's ability to withstand back-to-back best-of-five matches against top-ranked players. “I would say Serena right now,” Rubin said. “Looking at the group of guys coming up and it's there on the women as well, I just think the physicality is just a little bit extra on the men's side right now, especially in the best of five.
I don't think even if you take out the next gen, which even if Federer gets through those matches but is beaten up, is he ready for Nadal or Djokovic? I don't know. That is an absolute hell of an effort to ask from him”.