Tagged in: australian open

Roger Federer to miss 2021 Australian Open; planning 2021 return

Roger Federer is withdrawing from the Australian Open while he keeps preparing to return to action after two operations on his right knee, the tournament confirmed on Sunday.

Tony Godsick — Federer’s longtime representative and CEO of their management company, TEAM8 — stated he is working on putting together a 2021 tennis calendar for the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who plans to get back on tour soon after the year’s first major tennis tournament.

“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open. 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,” Godsick said in a statement released to the AP.

“I will start discussions this coming week for tournaments that begin in late February and then start to build a schedule for the rest of the year,” Godsick said.

The start of the Australian Open’s main draw was delayed by three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic and is now programmed to begin on Feb. 8 at Melbourne Park.

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Federer, 39, has spent more weeks atop the ATP rankings than anyone else but is No. 5 after his hiatus. He is training in his usual offseason home of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The choice to delay his comeback came with input from coaches Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic and fitness coach Pierre Paganini.

“We wish him all the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement confirming that Federer pulled out of the field, “and look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022.”

Federer hasn’t played a tournament match since late January at the 2020 Australian Open, where he was clearly injured while losing in straight sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Soon after, Federer played in an exhibition charity event with Rafael Nadal in front of a record tennis crowd of more than 50,000 people at a soccer stadium in Cape Town, South Africa.

Just weeks later, Federer announced he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and would be sidelined for at least four months. He later had a second procedure on that knee and wound up missing the rest of the pandemic-altered season.

One measure of Federer’s popularity: Despite appearing in only six matches in 2020, he recently was voted the winner of the ATP Tour fans’ favorite award for the 18th consecutive time.

Until this knee issue, Federer had his career interrupted only once by an operation — on his left knee in 2016. He sat out the second half of that season, including the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the US Open, but was back at his best when he resumed playing, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017.

He won the Australian Open again the following year for his sixth trophy there, to go along with eight from Wimbledon, five from the US Open and one from the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam.

While Federer was sidelined this year, Nadal equaled his men’s record for most major championships by collecting his 20th at Roland Garros in October. Federer posted a congratulatory message on social media to Nadal that day, saying he hopes “20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us.” Djokovic’s title in Australia this year moved him closer to Federer and Nadal with a total of 17.

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Nadal needs 4th-set tiebreak to beat Kyrgios

Rafael Nadal battled his way into the quarter-finals of the 2020 Australian Open on Monday, overcoming home favorite Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) in a gruelling matchup. 

The two men shared the first two sets, before Nadal was able to edge an attritional third through a nervy tiebreak.

Nadal controlled long spells of the fourth set but spurned the chance to serve for the match, with Kyrgios doing brilliantly to cling on. The top seed got a second chance in another tiebreaker and eventually found a way past his battling opponent.

The victory for Nadal means he will face fifth seed Dominic Thiem in the last eight as he goes in search of his 20th Grand Slam title overall and his first win at this event since 2009.

When the tennis got started, the home player was given raucous backing by the Melbourne crowd. However, the atmosphere didn’t daunt Nadal, who was able to quickly settle into an ominous groove.

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The top seed was able to conjure this magical forehand down the line early on and grab a break of serve.

By contrast, Kyrgios was unable make a dent in his opponent’s serve and was powerless to prevent the 19-time Grand Slam champion from clinching the first set.

After being comprehensively outplayed early on, it was imperative Kyrgios started the second set well.

He had to dig deep to hold serve against a Nadal barrage, and that appeared to fill the Australian with confidence.

Kyrgios then broke to move 3-1 in front and behind his booming serve he was able to do enough to level things up with the second set.

In the third set, both players settled in behind their serve and there was just one break point carved out between the pair; that was for Nadal, although Kyrgios was able to hold.

However, even with that impetus, Kyrgios couldn’t force a fifth.

In the tiebreak, Nadal was able to show more match awareness and discipline on the crucial points, ensuring he eventually finished a draining affair in four sets.

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Wozniacki to retire after 2020 Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1-ranked tennis player, announced she will retire from the sport after the 2020 Australian Open. The 29-year-old is presently ranked No. 37 in the world and has 30 career singles titles since turning pro in 2005.

Wozniacki first shared the news during an appearance Friday on “Good Morning America,” telling the hosts she was “ready to move on to the next chapter of my life.” She then shared a statement on social media.

Wozniacki won the 2018 Australian Open, her lone Grand Slam title, with a win over top seed Simona Halep. The Denmark native was runner-up at the 2009 U.S. Open and the 2010 WTA Tour Championships, earning the No. 1 ranking for 71 weeks between 2010 and ’11.

Her most recent match was a semifinal defeat to Naomi Osaka at the China Open. She said the retirement has nothing to do with her health and more to do with what else she wants to accomplish in life, as well as leaving the sport on a high note.

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Wozniacki struggled in 2019, not winning a singles title for the first time in her career as she battled injuries and dropping from the top five.

The year prior, 10 months after winning her first slam title, she announced a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

In June, Wozniacki married former New York Knicks player David Lee, and the couple recently moved to a condo on Fisher Island in Miami. One of the 18 tennis courts at the Palazzo Del Sol facility in Fisher Island is named after the tennis star.

In her social media announcement, Wozniacki said she wants to start a family while traveling and promoting awareness about rheumatoid arthritis. She also started classes at Harvard Business School this past September.

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