Roger Federer is withdrawing from the Australian Open while he continues preparing to return to action after two operations on his right knee, his agent told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Tony Godsick — Federer’s long-time representative and CEO of their management company, TEAM8 — said he is working on putting together a 2021 tennis calendar for the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who plans to get back on tour soon after the year’s first major tennis tournament.
“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 released to the AP.
“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,” Godsick said.
The start of the Australian Open’s main draw was delayed by three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic and is now scheduled to begin on Feb. 8 at Melbourne Park.
The 39-year-old Federer is currently training in his usual off-season home of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
He hasn’t played a tournament match since late January at the 2020 Australian Open, where he was clearly injured while losing in straight sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
Just weeks later, Federer announced he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He later had a second procedure.