“One Very Strong Opponent Less”: Dominic Thiem on Roger Federer Missing Australian Open 2021

Published 02/06/2021, 12:22 AM EST
Dominic Thiem of Austria celebrates his 7-5 7-5 over Roger Federer of Switzerland during Day one of the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 Arena on November 10, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem has opened up on Roger Federer’s absence from the Australian Open this year and his expected return to action at the ATP Doha event.


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Speaking to reporters on Saturday, ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam that kicks off on Monday, the current World Number 3 said that the tennis world will heave a sigh of relief and be happy to see Federer back in action in Doha.

Dominic Thiem welcomes Federer’s return at Doha ATP in March


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“Everybody is happy when Roger comes back in Doha. So, probably, this is one of the last weeks where he is not playing,” Thiem said.

Thiem added in a lighter vein that with Federer not in the men’s draw, the players, especially the title contenders at Melbourne Park, will have one less powerful opponent to worry about.

“One very strong opponent less,” said the reigning US Open champion.

Federer underwent surgery on a troubling knee after the Australian Open last year and put himself out of action thereafter, citing the need to rest and recuperate.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion didn’t feature in any of the events on Tour following the Australian Open last year.

Federer withdrew from Australian Open this year, citing lack of fitness

Speaking at an awards night in his homeland late last year, the Swiss champion had said that he was unsure if he would recover in time to play the Australian Open this year.

Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer at Indian Wells 2019

He said he was realistically targeting a return ahead of Wimbledon and listed the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open as his other priority events this year.

Though Federer resumed his pre-season training in Dubai under the watchful eyes of his coach and former Serbian player Ivan Ljubicic, he issued a statement days into his training, announcing his withdrawal from the Australian Open.

This year marks the first time since the Swiss started playing Grand Slam tennis that he won’t feature in the year’s first Major.


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The Swiss has not only been a regular at Melbourne Park but also won six of his career titles at the Australian Open.


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However, bringing joy to his fans, Federer released another statement days back, announcing his long-awaited return at the Qatar Open in March.


Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.