Roger Federer left many hearts broken when he announced late last year that he would not be participating in the upcoming Australian Open 2021. After hinting at a possible return if the Australian Open 2021 dates worked in his favour, the Swiss Maestro tracked back on his promise by citing the need for further rehabilitation of his knee. However, an explosive revelation by Andre Sa, the head of player liaison at Tennis Australia, may change fans' views on Federer's decision to sit out the Grand Slam.
Roger Federer fans may be left somewhat disappointed after a statement from Andre Sa, the head of player liaison at Tennis Australia, who revealed that Federer may not have disclosed the entire truth about why he chose to pull out from the Australian Open 2021. Federer's decision, announced on December 28, through his agent Tony Godsick hinted strongly at the fact that the 39-year-old was still not feeling fit enough to take on the best of the best after his two knee surgeries early last year. However, according to Sa, this was just a smokescreen to hide the real reason behind Federer's reluctance to make the journey Down Under.
Talking to the Brazilian sports channel, Band Sports, Sa revealed that he had had numerous discussions about the tournament with Federer before the latter announced his withdrawal. He claims that "the main reason [for the withdrawal] was the quarantine". Explaining further, Sa said that Federer's two options for quarantine were that he could either come along and spend 5 weeks without his family (as most players will choose to do) or come with his family but have them stay in the hotel room for all 14 days before they are allowed out.
While players are allowed to leave their rooms for up to five hours of supervised practice, this privilege is not extended to the families. With four young kids, it seems like this was simply too much to ask of Federer and his wife, Mirka. "He could go out, train and come back, but the family couldn't. Mirka did not approve the idea," Sa said. Defending his choice, Federer reportedly told Sa, "Dude, 39, four kids, 20 grand slams. I'm no longer at the stage to be away from my family for five weeks".
Considering that tournaments may have quarantine periods for some time still, the statement may also spell trouble for the 20-time Grand Slam champion's future in the game. Federer has not played since his Australian Open semi-final loss to Djokovic in January of 2020. Despite this, a number of events have gone in his favour and he has been able to maintain a high No.5 rank through the year. Federer is said to be aiming for a comeback later in February.