With Roger Federer withdrawing from the upcoming 2021 Australian Open, the tennis fraternity is eagerly waiting to witness him back in action. Off the tour since February last year, Federer’s knee recovery post-surgery is running slightly behind schedule. Notably, it will be the first time Federer won’t compete at the Australian Open since his debut at Melbourne Park in the year 2000.
With the first half of the ATP calendar disrupted because of COVID-19, most of the tournaments have either been postponed or suspended. The Rotterdam Open, which generally takes place in mid-February, has been pushed to the first week of March. Due to the shift in schedule, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Daniil Medvedev, and many others have confirmed their participation at the Rotterdam Open.
This has been amazing news for Richard Krajicek, tournament director of the Rotterdam Open. During an interview, Krajicek seemed extremely pleased with a strong line-up of top-players at this year’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.
Interestingly, Krajicek was certain of Federer’s participation at Qatar Open, which starts a week after Rotterdam but feels the Swiss Maestro might compete there too if he achieves full fitness by then.
“I think I know he will play in Doha, the week after Rotterdam. But if he’s fit and ready to play, we’ll hear from him,” said Richard Krajicek.
(Quotes have been translated via Google Translate)
Federer has won the Rotterdam Open on three occasions- 2005, 2012, and 2018. If the 20-time Grand Slam champion confirms his participation, it will be one of the most-watched ATP-500 events of the year. However, despite a powerful field of participants, the tournament will most likely be played without spectators.
The 39-year-old last played at the 2020 Australian Open, where he lost to arch-rival Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. With Nadal already at par with Federer’s Grand Slam tally, this year will further intensify the GOAT debate.