It won't be long before the start of the 2021 season. The ATP and the WTA have released the calendar for the first two months of the year, waiting to know the fate of the Sunshine Double (which includes the Indian Wells Masters 1000 and Miami).
The first major event of 2021, the Australian Open, will take place from 8 to 21 February to allow all players to travel to Australia and carry out the two weeks of mandatory quarantine. It is not clear whether the Happy Slam will also sanction the return of Roger Federer, who has been absent from the circuit for almost a year due to a double operation on his right knee.
The former world number 1 has retained a place in the Top 5 thanks to the new ranking system, but recently admitted that he is not yet in 100% fitness. During an interview with Digisport, former WTA number 1 Simona Halep recalled her first ever encounter with the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
The two met at Wimbledon in 2007, when the Swiss was already at the top of men's tennis (unlike Halep, who had yet to debut on the women's circuit).
Halep on her first meeting with Roger Federer
"I was at Wimbledon in 2007, I went to the training grounds, I had the junior badge and I went to the connection to leave a racket, I saw him there, I froze,” Simona Halep said.
“I didn't know how to react and handed him the badge, asked him if he could give me an autograph”. Halep then went on to describe the brief conversation that she had with Roger Federer on that day. “And then he asked me what I was doing there, how I was, I told him that I like tennis, that I'm at Wimbledon and I'm glad it's there, I had never seen a grass field before,” Halep added.
The World No. 2 recalled how friendly Federer was despite the fact that he didn't know anything about her. “He was very warm and gave me a very pleasant feeling,” Halep continued. “Even though he was very famous and very good in our sport, he talked to me and wished me well”.
The Swiss superstar said that he feels privileged to be ranked among the very best sportspersons that his homeland has produced. He said more than the piece of honor; it was the feeling of being in illustrious company that made it all the more special for him.
Federer said that he would have been ‘just as happy’ had someone else been picked for the honor and would have held no grudge or ill-feeling against him.