As was expected, Roger Federer's Australian Open withdrawal is not related to an injury, but Melbourne quarantine rules. The Australian Open director of player relations, Andre Aa, revealed that he spoke to Roger in December and that the Swiss and his wife didn't like his quarantine options.
Roger could have traveled to Melbourne alone, stayed away from his family for weeks, or brought them with him and kept them locked in the hotel room, which wasn't an option. The 39-year-old is working on a comeback in Dubai with his coach Ivan Ljubicic, doing his best to start playing again in two months.
Following a nasty knee injury in 2016, Roger made a strong comeback in the next season. He won three Major crowns between the Australian Open 2017-2018 - his first Major titles since 2012 - and increased his tally to 20, challenging Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to repeat that.
Roger was still among the world's best players in 2019, winning four ATP titles and securing the 28th Masters 1000 crown in Miami. The Swiss wasted two match points in the Wimbledon final versus Novak Djokovic and did enough to wrap up the year in the top-3, ahead of much younger rivals.
Federer kicked off the 2020 campaign in Melbourne, battling past John Millman from the verge of defeat in the third round and fending off seven match points against Tennys Sandgren in the quarters to extend his journey! With not much left in the tank, Federer made a great start versus Novak Djokovic in the semis before losing in straight sets, completing his last official match of the season and undergoing knee surgery in February.
Roger Federer will skip the Australian Open for the first time since 1999.
Roger needed another in May, deciding to miss the rest of the year and set eyes on a fresh start in 2021. Instead of Melbourne, Roger will most likely return in Rotterdam or Dubai, eager to extend his career for a year or two and fight for the most notable titles again.
Federer's main targets in 2021 are the Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon, hoping to recover his form by the summer and chase titles at those events. "The main reason for Roger's withdrawal was the quarantine. I talked to him a month ago, and he had two options.
He could come with the whole family and quarantine. The problem is that Roger's wife Mirka, and their children, couldn't leave the room. They would have to stay 14 days in the room. The exception is only for players. Roger could go out, train, and come back, but the family couldn't.
Mirka didn't like that idea. The other option would be for him to go to Melbourne alone. In that case, there would be at least five weeks away from family and children. And then he said, 'Dude, 39, four kids, 20 Grand Slams. I am no longer in time to be away from my family for five weeks,'" Andre Sa said.