Roger Federer’s absence from next month’s Australian Open has been blamed on Melbourne’s strict quarantine conditions rather than his knee injury.
Federer was reportedly unhappy that his wife Mirka and four children would be confined to a hotel room for 14 days before the rescheduled tournament begins on February 8.
Players will be allowed out for up to five hours per day to practise after they pass initial COVID-19 tests but families are set to be in full quarantine lockdown.
Federer announced last month he wouldn’t line up for a 20th Australian Open as he wasn’t ready to return to competitive tennis following two rounds of knee surgery which sidelined him for most of 2020.
Former world No.55 Andre Sa, who is head of player Liaison at Tennis Australia, says he spoke to the Swiss great in December about the quarantine situation and there’s more to the story.
“The main reason for Roger’s withdrawal was the quarantine,” Sa told Bandsports website.
“I talked to him a month ago, and he had two options.
“He could come with the whole family and quarantine. The problem is that Roger’s wife, Mirka, and their children, couldn’t leave the room.
“They would have to stay 14 days in the room. The exception is only for players. Roger could go out, train and come back but the family couldn’t and Mirka didn’t like that idea.
“The other option would be for him to go to Melbourne alone.”
Sa said Federer told him that wasn’t realistic.
“In that case, there would be at least five weeks away from family and children. And then he said, ‘Dude, 39, four kids, 20 grand slams. I am no longer in that time to be away from my family for five weeks,'” the Brazilian said.