The nominees for the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award are finally out. However, what’s really astounding is that Roger Federer is not there on the list for the first time since 2002. The Swiss Maestro has won the record on 13 occasions- the most by any tennis player.
Named after the 6-time Grand Slam singles champion Stefan Edberg, the award comes under the ATP awards. It goes to the one who shows the highest level of professionalism and sportsmanship on the court throughout a particular season. The players vote within themselves to decide the winner of the award.
Since 2004, the award was rotating between Federer and Rafael Nadal who won it 3 times. Paradorn Srichaphan was the last player who won the award apart from Roger and Rafa in 2004. The chances of Rafa are clearly high this time with no Federer in his way.
A reason for not getting nominated this time could be Federer’s absence in the 2020 tennis season. He missed most of the year due to a knee injury and could not play at the Australian Open 2020.
Sources reveal that Federer is definitely ready to make an exciting comeback at the Australian Open 2021. The road for him at the Grand Slam will certainly not be easy with many of the Next Gen players playing some exceptional tennis.
Although Federer won his last Grand Slam in Melbourne only in 2018, he would most probably be starting as the fifth seed this time making things harder for him. Age is another factor that could act as an obstacle for the 39-year-old. The Swiss Maestro is certainly fit enough to hit some powerful forehand winners. However, will be able to cover the court easily is the real question.
Rafa has already said that he hoped Roger to make a convincing comeback in 2021. With both leveled at 20 Grand Slam titles, the battle to be the best will be intriguing to watch.