Roger Federer rejected Aus Open offer as Nadal and Djokovic battle
Roger Federer discusses his retirement in September
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Roger Federer will not attend this year’s Australian Open after rejecting an invitation despite the excitement of his long-time friends, and on-court foes, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic rekindling their Grand Slam battle. Nadal is looking to defend the title he won last year while Djokovic seeks a 10th Melbourne title to move level on 22 Slams with the Spaniard.
The Australian Open was the last Slam Federer, a six-time champion Down Under, won in 2018 before retiring last year. And the organisers of the opening major of the calendar year had extended an invitation to Federer for him to attend the tournament this year.
But the 41-year-old opted not to accept, per The Age. He will instead watch the tournament from home. It is claimed Federer does not plan on spending time travelling around the world to different events at this moment in time.
The Australian Open will hope to welcome Federer back in 2024 despite him opting against flying out Down Under this time around. That will mark the 20th anniversary of the Swiss icon’s first title in Melbourne.
The 2024 Australian Open was just the second Slam he ever won after Wimbledon in 2003. And a Tennis Australia official said: “The welcome mat will always be rolled out for Roger.”
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Federer last competed in Australia in 2020 when he reached the semi-finals. He never returned after that due to injury problems which helped lead to his retirement at the Laver Cup last September.
In Federer’s absence at Melbourne Park this year, Nadal is the No 1 seed with Djokovic the No 4 seed. The Serb is however widely regarded as the favourite for this year’s crown, 12 months after being deported from the country.
He insists he does not hold last year’s events against Australia as he bids for 2023 glory. Djokovic said: “If I do hold the grudges, probably if I’m not able to move on, I wouldn’t be here. Also I have to say that the amount of positive experiences I had in Australia overwhelm the negative experience maybe of last year.
“My impression of Australia, my vision of Australia, has always been very positive, and that has reflected on my performance. My results are a testament to how you feel here. I was really looking forward to come back and play tennis because that’s ultimately what I do best, what I always wanted to do, what I wanted to do last year.
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“I’m really looking forward to play in front of the people and hopefully bring them some good fun and good vibes. It doesn’t get bigger than this. You have four Slams that historically have been the biggest events in our sport. It’s also one of the biggest reasons why I was really looking forward to come back to Australia: because of my record here.
“I really love playing in Rod Laver Arena, particularly night sessions. I’ve had plenty of success that hopefully can continue this year. I’m in a very good shape. I ended the year in the best possible way, and continued that form in Adelaide.
“I like the way I played there. I beat some really good players, especially in the last few matches of the tournament. I like my chances. I always like my chances. I train as hard as really anybody out there. There’s a lot of youngsters now that are very hungry, that want to win.
“They want to take a scalp off you on the big stadium. I know that. Experience of being in these kind of particular circumstances helps I think to have the right approach and do things in a proper way because I know when I’m healthy and playing my best, on this court I have chances really against anybody.”
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