The Australian Open by itself would not have any additional reasons necessary to represent a competition with a lot of appeal for tennis and non-tennis enthusiasts. But this year's event will be the first after 23 years without King Roger Federer, a player who won six of the AUS Open between 2004 and 2018.
It is therefore very curious to see who will be the heir of the Swiss who for two for decades he has been the absolute protagonist of this and many other ATP tournaments. The first of the major grand slam tournaments is taking place from January 10th to February 22nd 2021, with the start of the finals in Melbourne on February 8th.
An opportunity for redemption for Fognini who came out badly last year and Sinner in search of consecration after an excellent two-year period 2019-2020, meanwhile Berrettini is growing and working hard. Roger Federer opened up about his 2009 and 2016 seasons in a recent commercial for Credit Suisse.
Federer on his 2009 season
2009 and 2016 were extremely contrasting seasons for Roger Federer. During the former he not only won the elusive French Open but also broke the all-time Grand Slam record by lifting the Wimbledon title.
In 2016, however, he was faced with a career threatening injury which caused him to miss a couple of Majors before eventually undergoing surgery. Despite achieving the highest possible laurel in the sport in 2009, Federer was cautious.
He revealed that he wanted to avoid getting complacent as he still had more to achieve. “2009 was an absolute fantastic year for me. After having won the French Open I was also able to win Wimbledon and break the all time Grand Slam record there in an absolute historical match,” said Federer.
“It would have been easy to get complacent finishing that year in the number one position for my fifth time," he added. "It's another moment where you gotta look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the question, do I wanna achieve more? I would like to achieve a little bit more, yes please”.
It’s no secret that at this point in 2021, the end is near for the 39-year-old; the fact that he turned pro literally last millennium should tell you all you need to know. There is also the fact that over the past couple of seasons, his play has lagged behind that of the top handful of players in men’s tennis, a telltale sign if there ever is one.
It’s been that way for a few years now too. There was even a time last decade when he went almost five full years, between the 2012 Wimbledon and the 2017 Australian Open, without a major title; for the average player this would be fine, but for a god like Federer this felt like an eternity.
He managed to right the ship in Melbourne after a long layoff due to injury, but for a while we really thought it was over for him.