The first slam of the season scheduled for February 8th. After deceiving him about his participation, then hinting that his presence had become ‘at risk’, a race against time, Federer decided to give up the first tournament in Melbourne (won six times in his career).
He therefore slips the return of the 39-year-old Swiss, stopped in the pits from the Australian Open a year ago when he was eliminated in the semifinals by Novak Djokovic. Then the pandemic and the double arthroscopy on his right knee forced King Roger to take a break that lasted practically a year.
The organizers of the Australian Open announced Federer’s forfeit: “It is a tournament that has always had a special place in his heart – said the head of the tournament, Craig Tiley -, we wish him the best for his return to the field.
and of course to see him in Melbourne in 2022.” During a recent interview, Nikola Pilic elaborated on these setbacks to Roger Federer’s legacy. The 81-year-old opined that the World No. 5 will find it ‘very difficult’ to win any more Slams given how tough the competition has become during his twilight years on tour.
“It’s hard for me to imagine Roger Federer winning one or two more Grand Slams,” Nikola Pilic said. “I’m not saying he can’t, but it will be very difficult. You see, he now has, in addition to two greats Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, a constellation of younger players: Zverev, Medvedev, Thiem, and he is also 39 years old.
In my opinion, the race for GOAT is reduced to two names.” Nikola Pilic believes that the gap between the ‘Big 3’ and the NextGen has been greatly reduced already, and that it will eventually cease to exist.
But he claimed that all three of them are still too good to fade away into oblivion. “It is a natural process that the Big 3 slowed down significantly,” Pilic continued. “However, that will surely happen. The difference between them used to be measured in miles, and now it’s about centimeters.
The old guard still has something to show.” It is after the Australian Open that Federer defends his 2019 points as well. Being the defending champion at the Miami Open, Halle Open, and Basel Open, he will drop points if he doesn’t perform there.
And in Grand Slam events, Federer had reached the finals of Wimbledon in 2019 and he will have to defend that in 2021. So Federer could drop out of the top 10 if he doesn’t win more titles this year.