Federer Unlikely to Play 2022 Australian Open
Roger Federer is making strides in his recovery from knee surgery, but is unlikely to play the 2022 Australian Open, says his coach Ivan Ljubicic.
Former world No. 3 Ljubicic said the 40-year-old Federer is practicing patience in the recovery process. Ljubicic said it’s doubtful Federer will fully recover in time for the Australian Open, which starts on January 17th, 2022.
“I think there are very few chances, he is still recovering and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100 percent,” Ljubcic told Stats Perform in comments published by Reuters. “So I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now.
“But he will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.”
The Swiss superstar has not played a match since his straight-sets Wimbledon quarterfinal loss to Hubert Hurkacz last July.
Last August, Federer announced he was undergoing another knee surgery and expected to be out “many, many months.”
However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s timetable for return seemed to accelerate as a month later Federer told Swiss media he was pleased with the progress he was making during rehab.
“The worst is behind me,” Federer told Swiss channel SFR Sport. “I’m looking forward to everything that is to come. When you come back after an injury, every day that goes by feels better than the last. It’s an emotional moment.”
Ljubicic, who defeated Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick en route to the 2010 Indian Wells title, said Federer is committed to a comeback when he feels fully fit.
If Federer does not play, the 2022 Australian Open could be contested without two of tennis’ iconic Big 3 champions.
Defending AO champion Novak Djokovic has said he will make a final decision on his participation after Tennis Australia announces its Coronavirus safety protocol. Australian media has reported unvaccinated players will not be permitted entry into Australia. Djokovic, who has declined to disclose his vaccination status, has previously said he opposes tournaments mandating vaccination for players to compete.
Rafael Nadal, who is tied with Djokovic and Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles, is recovering from a foot injury and says he plans to play the Melbourne major. Nadal defeated Federer for his lone Australian Open championship in 2009.
Photo credit: Tennis Australia