Roger Federer declined an invitation to play doubles at this month’s Australian Open, according to reports. The tennis icon retired from the sport last year, although did promise that he would never walk away entirely.
Federer bowed out of a remarkable 24-year professional career by partnering long-term rival Rafael Nadal in the Laver Cup. An emotional press conference followed, with the 41-year-old blubbering through tears as he reminisced about his 20 Grand Slam titles.
But reports now suggest that Federer was offered a quick return to the majors. A Tennis Australia official has revealed that the Swiss was offered the opportunity to play doubles at this year’s tournament, which begins on January 16.
Federer has declined the invitation but the unnamed individual apparently said that “the welcome mat will always be rolled out” for the legendary former world No 1. The six-times Australian Open champion will therefore not play at the tournament.
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“I just wanted to let the fans know I won’t be a ghost. I talked about Bjorn Borg, I don’t think he returned to Wimbledon for 25 years. I don’t think I’ll be that guy and I feel tennis has given me too much. I have been around the game for too long. Have fallen in love with too many things.
“I love seeing people again, and that’s kind of what I wanted to let the fans know that you’ll see me again. Not just never again. Now what it could be, in what capacity, I don’t know. So I still have to think about it a little bit but give myself time.”
Federer revealed in December that he had recently returned to Wimbledon to look around the All England Club, but was amusingly not recognised by a member of the security team.