Six-times champion Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Australian Open as he continues to work his way back to fitness from two knee operations earlier this year, his agent said.
The 39-year-old Swiss last played a competitive match at the season-opening Grand Slam in January before he had to undergo surgery on his knee. He later required a second operation.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app
The start of the 2021 Australian Open has been delayed for three weeks until Februray 8 due to the country’s strict border rules to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Read more: Tennis: What the revised rankings mean for top five men champions
Federer, who had been training at his off-season base in Dubai, had told organizers that the delayed start to the tournament could benefit him.
However, his agent Tony Godsick said Federer was not quite ready to return.
“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open,” Godsick said in a statement. “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 added that he was looking to build a playing calendar for Federer from late February.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said they were disappointed to lose Federer for next year’s event.
“In the end Roger ran out of time to get himself ready for the rigors of a Grand Slam and he’s very disappointed he won’t be coming to Melbourne in 2021,” Tiley said in a statement.
“We wish him all the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year and look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022.”
Federer has been an ever-present at Melbourne Park since his first appearance when he lost in qualifying in 1999.
He has made 15 trips to the semi-finals and won the last of his six Melbourne titles in 2018.
Federer made the semis earlier this year, losing to eventual winner Novak Djokovic.
Tunisia’s Jabeur plays mind games to climb tennis rankings, aiming for top 20Ons Jabeur was fed up with her ranking at the start of 2020, having dropped to 85th in the world, but after making mental adjustments the Tunisian is ... Sports
Tennis: Rafa Nadal not interested in excuses after shock Rome exitRafael Nadal refused to make excuses for his shock defeat by Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open, insisting that his focus is ... Sports
Tennis: Novak Djokovic disqualified from US Open after striking line judgeWorld number one Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified in the US Open fourth round on Sunday after striking a line judge with a ball following ... Sports
New mum Stosur to skip rest of 2020 tennis season but vows to return to courtFormer US Open champion Samantha Stosur has decided to sit out the rest of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic after becoming a mother last month but the ... Coronavirus
World TeamTennis kicks off season with coronavirus safety measures in placeWorld TeamTennis (WTT) kicks off its three-week regular season on Sunday, as the world of professional tennis moves forward in the United States ... Coronavirus
Tennis: What the revised rankings mean for top five men championsMen’s governing body ATP on Monday unveiled a revised system for calculating world rankings when the season resumes in August following a five-month ... Coronavirus