MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Six-times champion Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Australian Open as he continues to work his way back to fitness from two knee operations earlier this year, according to a media report on Monday.
Australian Open officials were not immediately available to confirm the report.
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.
The start of the Australian Open has been delayed for three weeks until Feb. 8 due to the country’s strict border rules to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Federer, who had been training at his off-season base in Dubai, had told AO organisers that the delayed start to the tournament could benefit him. However, his agent Tony Goldsick told the Associated Press that Federer was not quite ready to return.
“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open,” Godsick was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “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.”
Reuters has requested comment from Godsick.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Jane Wardell)
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