Federer Will Not Play In 2021 Australian Open

WASHINGTON, December 28, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Count Roger Federer out of the 2021 Australian Open. The 20-time Grand Slam champion, whose streak of 21 consecutive appearances at Melbourne Park began in 2000 and has included six championships, will be absent when the new year’s first major begins on February 8.

On Sunday, Tony Godsick, Federer’s long-time agent and CEO of their management company TEAM8, told The Associated Press that the 39-year-old Federer is withdrawing from the Australian Open while he continues preparations to return to the ATP Tour following a pair of arthroscopic surgeries on his right knee that has sidelined him for nearly a year.

“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open,” Godsick said in a statement sent to the AP. “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.

”I will start discussions this coming week for tournaments that begin in late February and then start to build a schedule for the rest of the year.”

The World No. 5 Federer’s last tour appearance was at the 2020 Australian Open, where he lost in straight sets in the semifinal round to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. Federer is currently training at his off-season home in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, under the watchful eye of his longtime coaches, Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic, and fitness coach Pierre Paganini.

Andy Murray Accepts Australian Open Wild Card

Two years after playing what he feared was his last professional tennis match at the 2019 Australian Open, Andy Murray is returning to Melbourne.

The World No. 122 from Dunblane, Scotland, has accepted a main draw wild card to play in the 2021 Australian Open. The announcement was made Sunday by Tennis Australia chief executive and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

We welcome Andy back to Melbourne with open arms,” Tiley said in a statement. “His retirement was an emotional moment and seeing him come back, having undergone major surgery and built himself back up to get on to the tour again, will be a highlight of AO 2021.”

Murray’s Melbourne confirmation came a day after it was announced he would begin his 2021 season at the Delray Beach Open in Delray Beach, Fla., where he accepted a wild card. Murray will play his first match there on January 8.

Looking back, the 2020 season was a near-washout for Murray. Between lingering issues related to a pelvic injury coupled with the five-month suspension of the ATP Tour due to the coronavirus, Murray played just seven official matches – going 3-4. He finished with three straight losses – to Felix Auger-Aliassime at the US Open, to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open and to Fernando Verdasco in Cologne. Meanwhile, Murray looked sharp during last week’s Battle of the Brits Premier League of Tennis indoor hardcourt competition. He achieved back-to-back victories over British No. 1 Dan Evans and British No. 3 Cameron Norrie, both in straight sets.

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1, begins the new season ranked No. 122, which was below the main draw cutoff for direct entry into the Australian Open. He had the option of playing in the Australian Open qualifying tournament in Doha, Qatar, in which he would have had to win three straight matches. Instead, his place in the 128-player main draw is now secured.

After losing to Robert Bautista-Agut in five sets during the first round of the 2019 Australian Open, a tearful Murray explained that chronic right hip pain made it impossible for him to play. A film paying tribute to Murray was shown on a big screen after the match. Since then, Murray has undergone hip resurfacing surgery that has allowed him to play free of pain and mounted a comeback.

Murray is a five-time finalist (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016) in Melbourne and has a 48-13 lifetime record at the Australian Open.

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