As organizers finalized plans to maneuver the Australian Open to February from its standard January begin, the highest 100 women and men on the planet rushed to enroll, craving to play a Grand Slam in a rustic with few instances of the coronavirus, even when it meant a two-week quarantine upon arrival.

Then, simply days after signing on, Roger Federer introduced Monday he wouldn’t play in Australia in spite of everything as he works his means again from knee surgical procedures.

Federer hopes to play once more, however will a return take the type of a farewell tour or a legit run at championships? Federer turns 40 in August.

He has not performed a aggressive event because the 2020 Australian Open, the place he made it by way of two five-set matches earlier than falling to Novak Djokovic, the eight-time champion, within the semifinals. He additionally performed a charity match in South Africa in February, however he introduced early through the pandemic that he would shut down for the remainder of the season as the game itself was understanding when it would return.

As he recovered in Switzerland from his first knee surgical procedure through the preliminary lockdown, Federer charmed followers by hitting within the snow outdoors his home. Then got here his announcement that he’d had a second surgical procedure within the spring, and he spoke of his sluggish restoration.

“I’ve had two knee surgical procedures, so it has been dominated by that — by rehabbing, being on crutches, recovering from the surgical procedure and taking it step-by-step. I need to say I really feel significantly better already once more,” he stated throughout a sponsor look final summer season.

As anticipated, he skipped america Open and the French Open. Tennis inched towards its subsequent part, as Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev battled within the U.S. Open ultimate to turn out to be the primary new males’s Grand Slam winner since 2014, with Thiem popping out on high. (Rafael Nadal skipped the event to keep away from touring to the U.S., and Djokovic was ejected for swatting a ball that hit a line decide.)

Nadal tied Federer together with his twentieth Grand Slam on the French Open in October.

Federer remained hopeful that he would possibly have the ability to seem in Australia, particularly after it grew to become clear that the event can be pushed again three weeks to accommodate strict protocols for worldwide vacationers, together with gamers.

However in a press release to The Related Press, Tony Godsick, Federer’s agent, stated Federer had determined that regardless of latest progress, his greatest probability for achievement in no matter time he has left in skilled tennis can be to return after the Australian Open.

“I’ll begin discussions this coming week for tournaments that start in late February after which begin to construct a schedule for the remainder of the 12 months,” Godsick stated.

That might embrace plans for the Olympics, the place Federer gained a gold medal in doubles in 2008 and a silver in singles in 2012.

In a press release, Craig Tiley, the Australian Open event director, stated: “The Australian Open has at all times held a particular place in his coronary heart — keep in mind it was Roger who first known as the Australian Open the ‘glad slam’.”

Federer continues to be the world No. 5. He final gained the Australian Open in 2018 at 37. It’s his most up-to-date Grand Slam title. After he practically gained Wimbledon in 2019, it appeared as if he would possibly have the ability to compete on the highest stage for a number of extra years.

Now it’s unclear when he would possibly come again, a lot much less contend in opposition to his longtime rivals, Djokovic and Nadal.

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