The Australian Open will be orphaned by Roger Federer. As happened at the recent US Open and Roland Garros, in the post lockdown. The Swiss will not take part in the first Grand Slam of 2021, closing the circle of a year spent away from the fields.
The last appearance on 30 January 2020, right in Melbourne: semi-final against Djokovic, with the Serbian's victory in three sets. He was a bruised Federer, fresh from the comebacks against Millman (third round) and Sandgren (quarter finals) who had drained the tank and put the Swiss's physical resources to the test.
Moving marathons on concrete, the Australian one, which adopted King Roger. And that for the first time in 23 years he will be orphan of Federer, protagonist in Melbourne of some indelible pages in the history of tennis. The top players currently residing in Adelaide - including Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem - have been permitted to have one training partner each to prepare for the year's first Major.
Corrado Barazzutti is a former French Open and US Open semifinalist who, until recently, served as Italy’s Davis Cup captain. In a recent interview, the former pro opined that Sinner’s stint with Rafael Nadal will be a huge learning opportunity for the former.
Barazzutti on the Big 3
“Jannik Sinner will have the opportunity to train with Rafael Nadal in Australia and this experience will make him grow,” Corrado Barazzutti said. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have thwarted the careers of several players by refusing to loosen their vice-like grip on the sport.
The dominance and longevity of the Big 3 have been a huge obstacle for upcoming and established players alike. But Barazzutti reckons that their time at the top is drawing to a close, and that players like Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini are well-positioned to offer more resistance to them in the big tournaments.
“The Big 3 will not be at the top for a long time and our players will take advantage and fight for the big titles,” Barazzutti added. The Australian Open has been marred by controversies even before its commencement.
Three plane-loads of players were forced into hard quarantine without practice after some crew members tested positive for COVID-19. As many as 10 people involved with the tournament, including four players, have since tested positive.
The other events preceding the Australian Open 2021 include an ATP 250 tournament that has been shifted from Melbourne to Adelaide and will be held from January 31 to February 6.