Roger Federer has decided to withdraw from February's Australian Open, delaying his comeback from double knee surgery even further. But all hope is not lost for his fans, as Federer very much plans to return in a couple of months. And his former Davis Cup teammates Marc Rosset and Yves Allegero believe the 39-year-old will make his comeback at an indoor event in March.
Roger Federer's Australian Open withdrawal wasn't a complete surprise, given that the man himself had recently expressed doubts about his participation. Federer's agent Tony Godsick has now indicated a comeback in late February, but both Marc Rosset and Yves Allegro are of the view that the Swiss legend will likely return at the ABN Amro Open in Rotterdam.
"I can see him coming back to Rotterdam," Rosset and Allegro said in unison to the 20min website.
"This is where he went to seek the World No. 1 ranking in 2017, there are good memories," Rosset added.
"I think he will favor places with which he has a common history," Allegro chimed in. "So Rotterdam undoubtedly and perhaps Marseille which offered him a wild card at the start of his career."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ATP has been only released its calendar for the first seven weeks of the 2021 season so far. Discussions for the weeks after the Australian Open are still underway, and reports suggest there could be a couple of European indoor events lined up for early March.
Rotterdam, whose tournament director is former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, is reportedly eyeing the week starting 1 March, and Marseille the week after that.
Roger Federer made the right decision, he has time to prepare for Wimbledon and the Olympics: Yves Allegro
Although Yves Allegro and Marc Rosset expressed disappointment at Roger Federer's withdrawal from the Australian Open, they both asserted the Swiss maestro had made the right decision.
"It's quite logical not to go to Australia where 40 (degrees) and matches in five sets awaited him," Allegro said. "All his career, Roger Federer only lined up if he was 100% physically. So he made the right decision, especially since he has plenty of time left to prepare for his main goals of Wimbledon and the Olympics."
Marc Rosset on his part stressed that the eight-time Wimbledon champion is known to be a stickler when it comes to taking care of his body.
"At 39, he probably needs more time to be reassured," Rosset said. "Roger Federer is someone who takes a lot of precautions, he doesn't play with his body. In his 20-year career, he has done everything to avoid the slightest anti-inflammatory."
Rosset added that he was not too concerned about Roger Federer's match fitness, or rather the lack of it, when he does eventually return to the tour. The 1992 Olympics gold medalist believes Federer is in more or less the same boat as the others given the stop-start 2020 season, and that he would be fine as long as his knee allowed him to train to his normal level.
"Should we fear the lack of matches? I do not believe," Rosset said. "Let's not forget that we are coming out of a strange year, with very few tournaments and to which will be added a mini ATP Cup and an Australian Open. At the start of the 2021 season, Roger Federer will therefore only be one or two tournaments behind the others."
"So the real question is simple: does his body allow him to train hard? In my opinion, the only unknown is at the level of his knee," Rosset added. "Because when it comes to the game, the choices, I don't care. It's like riding a bicycle."