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Fitness worries still dog Roger Federer

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not competed in more than a year after having two operations on his right knee
Roger Federer

Agencies   |   Miami   |   Published 03.03.21, 04:31 AM

Roger Federer is withdrawing from this month’s Miami Open so he can spend extra time preparing to “work his way back out on tour,” his agent said.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not competed in more than a year after having two operations on his right knee during the last season.

Federer, who turns 40 in August, is scheduled to make his return to the tour next week in a hard-court tournament at Doha, Qatar. He posted a photo of himself on Twitter last Friday with the caption: “The countdown to Doha begins.”

That will be his first event since he reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open in February 2020. As of now, he also is slated to participate in the hard-court tournament in Dubai which begins on March 14.

Federer also had been on the entry list for the Masters 1000 meet in Miami, where play starts on March 24. But his agent, Tony Godsick, wrote on Monday in an email that Federer will not play there.

“After Doha and maybe Dubai, (Federer) will go back and do a training block to continue to slowly work his way back out on tour,” Godsick wrote.

Miami Open tournament director James Blake said he had hoped Federer would return in 2021 to an event he has won four times, including two years ago.

“We certainly would have loved Roger to return to Miami to defend his title.

“However, as a former player, I understand that you need to tailor your travel and playing schedule to properly work your way back to 100 per cent fitness when coming off an injury,” Blake said.

“Roger is an incredible ambassador for the sport, so the longer he is able to play on tour, the better it is for all of tennis.” 

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