For the first time in the last 23 editions, the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, will have to do without tennis legend Roger Federer. The Swiss tennis player's forfeit was announced at the Laureus Awards where the 20-time winner of Grand Slam titles hinted that his conditions were not yet perfect and that he did not expect to be at this point either.
In addition to this, the severe measures imposed by the Australian government were certainly added with the two weeks of mandatory quarantine, a reason that certainly influenced the choice of the now 39 year old athlete. The date of Federer's return is not yet officially known, as he could return to the field in one of the tournaments between Rotterdam or Dubai, races that will be played shortly after the first Grand Slam of the season.
In fact, the Swiss tennis player has repeatedly clarified that his main goals in 2021 are the Wimbledon tournament and the Tokyo Olympics, postponed for twelve months due to the global pandemic. During the course of his rise on the ATP tour, Stefanos Tsitsipas has often drawn comparisons between himself and Roger Federer.
And the latest to highlight the similarities between the two is former World No. 1 Andy Roddick.
Roddick reflects on Tsitsipas' future
"Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of the biggest stars on the circuit today and has already defeated some of the greatest legends of the sport," Andy Roddick said.
"He is considered as a kind of successor to Roger Federer because he is very similar to Roger Federer in the way he plays, but it is time to start fighting for Grand Slam titles." Roger Federer's aggressive all-court style of tennis, replete with a one-handed backhand, has been celebrated for a long time.
And while Stefanos Tsitsipas is not as elegant with his backhand or even his movement, the Greek does possess a Federer-esque willingness to go after his forehand and attack the net. Tsitsipas suffered a leg injury during the season-ending ATP Finals event last year and checked into a London physiotherapy clinic for recovery and rehabilitation.
And, in perhaps, a conscious effort to reduce stress on his limbs, the Greek has worked on effecting a softer landing on his feet after delivering a serve. From the evidence of the slight change in his service action now, he is clearly going through the body mechanics a lot more smoothly and is not falling on his left side as he did earlier.
The final clip on the Twitter thread shows his younger brother, Petros Tsitsipas, also a professional tennis player who achieved a career-high singles ranking of 960 on January 4, doing some practicing of his own on a hard court.