World No.3 Dominic Thiem has opened up on Roger Federer skipping the Australian Open this year and his expected return to action at the ATP Doha event. Speaking to the media on Saturday, ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam which starts on Monday, the Austrian said that the tennis world will heave a sigh of relief and be happy to see Federer back in action in Doha.
He said, “Everybody is happy when Roger comes back in Doha. So, probably, this is one of the last weeks where he is not playing,”. Thiem added on a lighter note that with Federer not in the men’s draw, the players, especially the title contenders at Melbourne Park, would have one less powerful opponent to worry about. “One very strong opponent less,” said the US Open champion.
Federer underwent surgery on a troubling knee after the Australian Open last year and took a break from the court thereafter, citing the need to rest and recuperate. The 20-time Grand Slam champion didn’t feature in not just the remaining Grand Slams but also other marquee events in the men’s calendar.
Roger Federer cited lack of fitness as reason For skipping Australian Open 2021
Speaking at an awards night in his homeland late last year, the Swiss champion said that he was unsure if he would recover in time to play the Australian Open this year. He said he was realistically targeting a return ahead of Wimbledon and included the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open on his priority list this year.
Though Federer resumed his pre-season training in Dubai under the watchful eyes of his coach and former Serbian player Ivan Ljubicic, he gave a statement days into his training block, announcing his decision to skip the Australian Open.
This year marks the first time since the Swiss legend started playing Grand Slam tennis that he won’t feature in the year’s first major tennis event. The Swiss has not only been a regular at the Melbourne Park but also won six of his career titles at the Australian Open.
However, bringing joy to his fans, Federer released another statement a few days back, announcing his long-awaited return at the Qatar Open in March.