Anyone who has wondered what tennis would be like without Roger Federer got a sneak peak in 2020, a season in which he underwent two surgeries on his right knee and played just one event. The tours survived, but he’ll be welcomed back with open arms in Melbourne.
The next question is: What does he have left at 39? On the encouraging side, the last time Federer returned at the Australian Open after having knee surgery, in 2017, he won the tournament. On the other hand, that was four years ago, and last season in Melbourne he needed two miracles just to make the semifinals, where he was straight-setted by Novak Djokovic.
If Federer faces Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem in 2021 year, he’ll be the underdog; but if he can make another deep run, it will be the story of the fortnight.