Roger Federer has withdrawn from next year’s inaugural ATP Cup, saying he needs to avoid a ‘fully intense start to the season’.
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Australia’s new-look summer of tennis has taken an early hit, with Federer announcing his ‘regretful’ withdrawal from the ATP Cup. The 20-time major champion had been due to represent Switzerland in Sydney and was set to face Great Britain’s Andy Murray in a blockbuster singles showdown, but that will no longer be the case, with Federer pulling out due to family reasons.
“It is with great regret that I am withdrawing from the inaugural ATP Cup event,” Federer said in a statement.
“When I entered the event last month, it was a really difficult decision because it meant less time at home with the family and a fully intense start to the season.
“After much discussion with both my family and my team about the year ahead, I have decided that the extra two weeks at home will be beneficial for both my family and my tennis. It pains me to not be a part of the most exciting new event on the calendar, but this is the right thing to do if I want to continue to play for a longer period of time on the ATP Tour.
“I am sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment my withdrawal may cause for the fans, but I hope you can understand why I made it.”
Federer was lined up as one of the star-studded attractions of the ATP Cup – the new $22 million and 24-nation tournament that was established in conjunction with Tennis Australia and as a rival to the revamped Davis Cup Finals, with it’s first edition to be played across three cities in Australia (Sydney, Brisbane and Perth) in the build-up to the Australian Open.
Switzerland are now out of the ATP Cup as a result, with a new country to join Great Britain, Belgium and another yet-to-be-determined nation in Group C.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley supported Federer’s decision and said he understood the reasons for his withdrawal.
“Roger is indisputably a legend of our sport and we have been blessed that he has managed to stay at the top of the game for so long,” Tiley said. We understand this has been a really difficult decision for him. He has always done an extraordinary job being a great dad while managing his career.
“Although we know the fans in Sydney would love to have seen him compete in the ATP Cup, we totally respect his decision and look forward to seeing him at the Australian Open.”
Federer’s withdrawal means he will almost certainly never play in Sydney again. The 38-year-old met his wife Mirka at the Sydney Olympics 19 years ago and won the 2002 ATP event in the harbour city.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are still set to headline the competition, alongside five other members of the current top 10. The 2020 ATP Cup runs from January 3-12.