Australian Open chief Craig Tiley recently spoke about Roger Federer's absence from the 2022 Australian Open. Tiley feels it will be "a while" before Federer returns to action, but reckons the Swiss will follow the action in Melbourne closely since either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal could surpass his Grand Slam tally.
Tiley also gave his thoughts on Peng Shuai's disappearance following her sexual assault accusations against a former Vice Premier of China.
Federer recently confirmed his absence from the 2022 Australian Open, revealing that he does not expect to resume training before March or April next year. The 40-year-old underwent a third surgery on his injured knee around August this year.
Speaking on the Today Show, Craig Tiley revealed that Tennis Australia had been in "constant contact" with Federer, hinting that they may have been aware of his decision to withdraw from the 2022 Australian Open beforehand.
Tiley further pointed out that it takes quite a long time for someone to recover at Federer's age.
"Well for first, we have been in constant contact with Roger, we are all friends with him and love to see him compete but he's recovering from surgery and he's got a 40-year-old+ body now, takes a bit longer to recover now than 20 years ago for him. He'll be back at some point," Craig Tiley said.
Tiley reckons Federer will miss a number of events in the 2022 season, given that the 20-time Major champion will not be able to resume training until March next year.
"I think it will be a while before he plays, he did say probably only March or April, so there's maybe other events he's missing," Tiley added. "He will be someone who'll be watching closely whether Novak or Rafa could surpass his 20 Grand Slam titles."
Turning his attention to Peng Shuai, Craig Tiley revealed that Tennis Australia has officially enquired about her situation. The Aussie also asserted that his organization is leaving no stone unturned in trying to "ensure" Peng's safety.
The Chinese tennis star has not been heard from since she accused a former government official of sexual assault.
"The very first action, that we've taken - Tennis Australia - is to enquire directly to the tours and about her safety," Craig Tiley said. "Whatever resource that we have had to our disposal, we've acted to ensure that she is safe but also to send a message that we are ready to support and make sure that her wellbeing is taken care of."
Roger Federer one of the few top players to stay silent about Peng Shuai's situation
A number of top players, including Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Naomi Osaka, have expressed their support for Peng Shuai and called for more information regarding her situation.
Several members of the WTA and ATP tours have also spoken out against the Chinese government's alleged censorship of Peng.
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Roger Federer, however, is yet to issue a statement on the matter. His good friend and rival Rafael Nadal is also yet to comment on the issue, and there is a growing chorus for the two big guns in men's tennis to take a stand.