Roger Federer misses the Australian Open. And for him it is the first time in his career. The 39-year-old Swiss has not yet recovered from double knee surgery and will not be in the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne. The announcement came first from the organizers and then from manager Tony Godsick: «Roger has decided not to play the tournament in 2021.
He has made important progress in recent months with the knee, however, after a consultation with the team, he has decided that the best thing in the long term is to be competitive again after the Australian Open». An appointment therefore at least at the end of February.
The twenty-time Grand Slam champion has been out for a year (his last appearance at the Australian Open at the beginning of 2020) but in the last few weeks he was training in Dubai and had been included in the list of entries for the Australian Open that will start the February 8.
Roger Federer’s biographer and sports journalist Simon Graf recently appeared on the 'Tennis with an Accent' podcast, where he covered several important aspects of the Swiss Maestro's career.
Graf on Roger Federer's behavior off the court
Simon Graf then shared an anecdote about Roger Federer's behavior off the court, dating back to 2013.
"It was in Gstaad where Roger Federer lost that match against Brands, in Switzerland," Simon Graf said. "It was a big thing, they even gifted him with another cow. He was back in Switzerland, he knew he wouldn't be 100%.
I saw him warm up on the courts of the Palace Hotel. It was a terrible sight, he could hardly move. He lost in straight sets against a not a great player. What I really was impressed with is how he behaved himself in the press room.
Like he really did not want to talk, but people were really excited to see him on that stage," Graf added. "So he got so many questions in different languages about his back. He didn't know himself, he did not know if he was getting better.
It was a difficult year for him. But still he stayed there for almost half an hour and answered all the questions. Afterwards there was a meet and greet, he did that as well. In his shoes I would've left immediately. I think he realized people were so excited to see him in Switzerland so he had to give back, even though he couldn't play well."
This year’s season-opening Grand Slam at Melbourne Park has been pushed back from its initial January 18-31 slot to February 8-21 to allow players to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon arrival in Australia. About 15 charter flights carrying roughly 1,200 players, officials and support staff will start arriving in Melbourne from Thursday.
Players will be tested before they board flights to Australia and once they arrive they will head to three different hotels where they will stay for the two weeks.