Roger Federer will not participate at the 2021 Australian Open, giving the tournament a miss for the first time in his career. Federer is on the road to recovery following two operations on his right knee.
However, progress has been slower than the Swede had hoped for. In a statement, tournament director Craig Tiley said, “Roger ran out of time to get himself ready for the rigours of a grand slam. He’s very disappointed he won’t be coming to Melbourne in 2021.
“The Australian Open has always held a special place in his heart. It was Roger who first called the AO the ‘Happy Slam’.
“We wish him all the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year. We look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022.”
Federer had already announced that the Australian Open would be a touch too early. Following news that it would be delayed by three weeks, optimism was not completely lost. Speaking at the Swiss Sports Awards, Federer said, “I would love to be in Australia. I’m very close with my knee.
“After the second operation I said to myself: ‘I want to take my time. I don’t want to take the next step until I’m ready’. The summer with Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and the US Open is my priority.”
Federer has won six Grand Slams in Melbourne. It is worth remembering that this was the venue of his comeback in 2017. He managed to return from surgery on his left knee to win a Grand Slam for the first time in four-and-a-half years. He retained his title the following year. Federer has never missed this event in the entirety of this millennium, having made his debut in 1999.