Roger Federer plans to make a return to tennis in 2021, but it won’t happen at the Australian Open. Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, confirmed to the Associated Press that his client plans to withdraw from the Aussie Open on Sunday.
Federer is still recovering from two operations on his right knee and hasn’t competed in a tournament match in almost a full year. Federer’s last official action came at the 2020 Australian Open, where he lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
The start of this year’s Australian Open has been delayed due to COVID-19 and won’t kick off until early February. Some believed the extra time would allow Federer to heal and play in the tournament, but Goldsick said skipping the year’s opening major is the “best decision for [Federer] in the long run.”
“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open. He has made strong progress in the last couple of months with his knee and his fitness. However, after consultation with his team, he decided that the best decision for him in the long run is to return to competitive tennis after the Australian Open,” Godsick said in a statement, via the AP.
Though he won’t be competing in Melbourne, Federer should be in line to return to the tour soon. Goldsick confirmed that he’s working on building a 2021 competitive schedule of events starting in late February.
Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, is currently training at his offseason home in Dubai.