Roger Federer is set to withdraw from the Australian Open as he continues to recover after two operations on his right knee, according to the player’s agent.
The six-time Australian Open champion has not played a competitive match since sustaining a knee injury in the same competition in January 2020 when he lost in the semi-finals to Novak Djokovic.
Federer also admitted early this month that he was in “a race against time” to be ready for Melbourne, although organizers had remained optimistic about his chances at the delayed event.
But, Federer’s agent Tony Godsick, told The Associated Press on Sunday: “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.
“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 coronavirus pandemic caused the start of the Australian Open’s main draw to be delayed by three weeks and is now scheduled to begin on February 8.
Federer, 39, is currently training at his usual offseason home in Dubai.
Flights are being chattered by Australia Open organizers in order to bring all the main draw players to Australia, with the qualifiers for the singles draw of the tournament held in Dubai and Doha between January 10-13.
Players will also undergo regular coronavirus testing in Australia and be allowed to train for up to five hours a day.