Having not played a single match in almost twelve months, Roger Federer recently withdrew from the 2021 Australian Open. The Swiss Maestro underwent knee surgery last year and pulled out of the 2020 season in February. Despite making progress to regain fitness, Federer’s recovery was going behind schedule, which prompted him to not compete at the upcoming Australian Open.
Recently, in an interview with Ace BandSports, Director of Player Relations for Tennis Australia, Andre Sa revealed that the main reason behind Federer’s absence was the strict quarantine rules. As per the health authorities, players will have to quarantine for two weeks along with their entourage and will only be allowed to train for five hours each day.
Andre contended that Federer’s wife Mirka found the proposition of quarantining herself and their four kids for two weeks quite problematic. With no option of leaving the room during the quarantine period, Mirka disapproved of the idea of going to Melbourne along with her husband.
“The main reason was the quarantine. I talked to him a month ago and he had two options. He could come with the whole family and quarantine him. The problem is that Mirka (Federer’s wife) and her children couldn’t leave the room. They would have to stay 14 days in the room. The exception is only for players. He could go out, train, and come back, but the family couldn’t. Mirka did not approve the idea,” Andre Sa said.
Hence, the sole choice left before the 20-time Grand Slam champion was to head for the Australian Open without his family. At age 39 and with the responsibility of four kids, Federer seemed averse to staying away from his family for over five weeks.
“The other option would be for him to come alone. Only there would be at least five weeks away from family and children. And then he said, ‘Dude, 39, four kids, 20 Grand Slams. I am no longer in time to be away from my family for five weeks,” added the Director of Player Relations.
Notably, it will be the first time since his Australian Open debut in 2000 that Federer won’t compete at Melbourne Park. Over the last four years, Federer has won twice at the Australian Open in 2017 and then in 2018.
Last month, Federer was named Switzerland’s best athlete of the last 70 years at the awards ceremony. With the Tokyo Olympics in July next year, let’s hope Federer wears national colors one more time.