After spending nearly a year on the sidelines, Roger Federer’s tennis return has been much anticipated.
But it looks like the 20-time major champion could make a comeback at the 2021 Australian Open, despite the 39-year-old having undergone multiple knee surgeries this year.
“He (Federer) had surgery and has been out for six months,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley told SEN’s Summer Breakfast yesterday morning.
“It’s going to be a slow road coming back, but he did say to us that the Feb 8th date was a better date for him because he had a bit more time to get ready.”
“Every player, including Roger, has made a commitment to travel to Melbourne to play.”
Tiley admitted that a lot will depend on how Federer’s training will go over the next few weeks, but stated, “he adds a lot more to the event, and I know he wants to play because he’s running out of time he can’t miss too many grand slams.”
Federer has also been dropping hints that he’ll be back fairly soon after he posted a video online thanking fans for voting him for the 2020 ATP Fan’s Favourite award.
“Thanks to ATP, to all the tennis fans out there voting for me, believing in me, and wanting to see me back on the tour.”
“I’m training hard, making that possible and I hope I can play in front of all you guys very very soon and Happy Holidays to everybody.”
“Happy New Year and let’s hope it all gets better next year. I can’t wait to see you all again very soon.”
Roger Federer wins the ATP Fan Favorite award for the 18th (⚠️) consecutive year pic.twitter.com/pxyZd0X10J— José Morgado (@josemorgado) December 21, 2020
Meanwhile, Tiley also confirmed Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Serena Williams would all be in attendance at the event.
After withdrawing from this year’s French Open due to injury, there was no doubt Serena Wiliams would be in attendance at next year’s Australian Open as she looks to top Margaret Court’s record grand slam haul.
“She (Williams) is coming, and so is Rafa, so is Novak, so are all the young guns, the Tsistipas’ and the Zverevs of the world and of course all the Aussies Ash (Barty), Nick Kyrgios and (Alex) De Minaur, they’re all here as well.”
Next year’s Australian Open’s star-studded line-up means it’s set to be one of the best on record.
Plus with young players like Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin, Daniil Medvedev, and Andrey Rublev also gearing up to fly down to Melbourne, we’re expecting some big upsets too.
Although the tournament will take a slightly different look for both players and fans.
Players in particular will have to adhere to strict public health requirements to minimise the risk of bringing coronavirus into Australia.Embed from Getty Images
Tiley confirmed that following the Australian Open qualifiers in Doha and Dubai, players will travel to Melbourne on a series of chartered flights.
“We had to find two places that were somewhat central in the world that players could get to.”
“There are 128 women and 128 men that will play, and then 16 players will end up qualifying, and then they’ll get on our chartered flight because we are paying for flights from LA Singapore, and Dubai and they’ll get a chartered flight and fly out to Melbourne,” the Tennis Australia CEO said.
Once players arrive in Melbourne, they will undergo a compulsory 14-day quarantine, during which time they will be able to train and will be tested daily.
The Victorian Government will also be providing special coronavirus marshalls to monitor player movements and prevent any breaches of the rules.
“That didn’t happen in the US and didn’t happen in French (Opens), so we’re in a very strong position.”
“When they come out (of quarantine) they will be like you and I in an environment where hopefully there wiil be no community spread, now if there was a community outbreak then we would have very strict ongoing protocols, but if there is no community outbreak and no community spread we can walk around go to restaurants and go see movies.”
“They will be in a country or a city which they will not have experienced in the last year, so I think that has been a huge attraction for them to come.”
There’s no doubt the two-week quarantine will be worth it for the players.
Each player will get the chance to compete in at least three tournaments while also experiencing some normalcy in a COVID free city that many European and American players haven’t seen over the past ten months.
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