Roger Federer to miss Australian Open despite 'strong progress' on knee injury
Roger Federer missed almost all of the 2020 season through injury; Player's agent Tony Godsick told AP: "He has made strong progress in the last couple of months with his knee"; Andy Murray receives wildcard for main draw
Last Updated: 28/12/20 9:48am
Roger Federer is withdrawing from the Australian Open as he continues his recovery from two operations on his right knee, according to the player's agent.
The six-time winner of the tournament has not played a competitive match since sustaining a knee injury in Australia in January this year when he lost in the semi-finals to Novak Djokovic.
Federer's agent, Tony Godsick, told The Associated Press on Sunday: "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.
"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."
The start of the Australian Open's main draw was delayed by three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic and is now scheduled to begin on February 8.
Federer, 39, is currently training at his usual offseason home in Dubai.
Australia Open organisers are chartering flights to bring all the main draw players to Australia, with qualifying for the singles draw of the tournament held in Dubai and Doha between January 10-13.
Players will undergo regular coronavirus testing in Australia and be allowed to train for up to five hours a day.
Andy Murray will return to the Australian Open in February after receiving a main-draw wildcard.
The 33-year-old Scot, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, broke down in tears in January 2019 after he played what he feared would be his final match as a professional.
Suffering from chronic hip pain, Murray lost in five sets to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the 2019 tournament.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: "We welcome Andy back to Melbourne with open arms.
"As a five-time finalist, he has been an integral part of so many amazing matches and storylines in the recent history of the Australian Open.
"His retirement was an emotional moment and seeing him come back, having undergone major surgery and built himself back up to get onto the Tour again, will be a highlight of AO 2021.
"We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him in 2021."