From 2014-2016 Roger Federer began his year at the Brisbane International. Over the past three years he has been representing Switzerland at the Hopman Cup. Both events have now dropped off the calendar and Roger is set to head to Melbourne without a warm-up.
The former number one was due to play in the inaugural ATP Cup which is in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney but pulled out meaning that Switzerland lost their place.
Federer decided to pull out to spend more time with his family but at the end of the 2019 season did go on a South America travel with Alex Zverev playing in multiple venues.
Is it a good idea to not be playing before the first major?
I don’t think so. Three of his last five majors have come in Melbourne where he does boast and exceptional record during his career but even in 2019 his fourth round exit to Stefanos Tsitsipas was his second earliest exit since 2004.
I do think we are seeing a shift in momentum against top players now. He will turn up to Melbourne without playing competitive tennis for just over two months which can be difficult to back in the groove however what does help is the day off in between.
As I said during the course of the year I have felt players got the edge now. His top 10 record this year was seven wins and seven defeats and if anything his win against Djokovic felt like it said more about the Serbs game in London than Roger’s who was simply inconsistent.
During the 2019 season whether it was Thiem at Indian Wells/Madrid/London, Tsitsipas in Melbourne/London or Zverev in Shanghai I felt like at big moments he was outplayed and we saw this against Djokovic at Wimbledon too.
I don’t usually think not playing a warm-up a week or two before a Grand Slam is a bad idea especially mid-season but at the beginning of the season you would like that extra game momentum and game time.