Andre Sa, the head of player liaison at Tennis Australia, has suggested that Roger Federer's concerns over stringent quarantine regulations heavily influenced his decision to pull out of the Australian Open.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been training in Dubai ahead of his return to the court for the first time since knee surgery at the start of last year.
While the official reason for his move to withdraw from next month's rescheduled event in Melbourne was due to his fitness, Sa has suggested the restrictions inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic was the big issue.
At the age of 39, Federer was faced with two options as he looked to comply with Australia's strict quarantine rules, with one seeing his family that includes wife Mirka and their four children isolating in a hotel for 14 days without leaving their room.
"The main reason was the quarantine," Sa said, as he explained Federer's absence in an interview with Band Sports.
"I talked to him a month ago, and he had two options. He could come with the whole family and quarantine them. The problem is that Mirka (Federer's wife) and her children couldn't leave the room. They would have to stay 14 days in the room. The exception is only for players. He could go out, train, and come back, but the family couldn't. Mirka did not approve of the idea.
"The other option would be for him to come alone. Only 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 time to be away from my family for five weeks'."
Federer has hinted he will look to make a return later in 2021, with the tournament in Dubai in March a possible target.
- TEAMtalk media