Rod Laver: I look forward to seeing Roger Federer at his best during the year

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Rod Laver: I look forward to seeing Roger Federer at his best during the year

Australian tennis legend Rod Laver was sorry to hear that 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer would not be coming to the Australian Open in 2021. Federer, a former world No. 1, underwent two knee surgeries this year but he hoped to be ready to play at the Australian Open in 2021.

Federer appeared in only one official tournament last season as he made the semifinal at the Australian Open before he underwent a knee surgery. Federer underwent another knee surgery in June and he was targeting to be fully ready for the start of the 2021 season.

Unfortunately, 39-year-old Federer won't play the Australian Open in early-February but he hopes to be able to return to the court later that month. "Like many across the world I was extremely sorry to hear @rogerfederer can't play the Australian Open in 2021 after 21 straight years and six titles at RLA.

I look forward to his injury-free return and seeing him at his best during the year. A happier new year to all!" Laver wrote in a tweet.

Federer making a solid progress

"He has made strong progress in the last couple of months with his knee and his fitness," his agent Tony Godsick said in a statement.

"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." After undergoing a second knee surgery, Federer hoped to return to action at the Australian Open.

After the Australian Open was pushed back for a February 08 start, it became more likely that Federer would be able to play. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley expected Federer to play but then the tournament received the unfortunate news that the Swiss wouldn't play.

"In the end, Roger ran out of time to get himself ready for the rigours of a Grand Slam and he’s very disappointed he won’t be coming to Melbourne in 2021,” Tiley said in a press release. “The Australian Open has always held a special place in his heart – remember it was Roger who first called the AO the ‘Happy Slam’.

“We wish him all the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year and look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022." It remains to be seen if Federer will be able to return to the court in late-February.