Roger Federer’s (Australian Open outright – 25/1) persistent injury issues mean he is likely to miss out on the Australian Open early next year, according to his coach Ivan Ljubicic.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner hasn’t featured since his quarter-final exit at Wimbledon in July and has undergone more knee surgery.

The last few years of Federer’s career have been blighted by fitness problems with the 40-year-old failing to win a Slam title since the 2018 Australian Open.

In September, Federer confirmed he was “feeling good” after going under the knife for the third time but insisted he would not be rushing to return to action. That cautious approach means he now likely to sit out the tournament at Melbourne Park, which is scheduled to get underway on January 17.

However, Ljubicic says the Swiss star is not planning on retiring and hopes to get back to tournament action soon.

“I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now,” Ljubicic told Stats Perform. “I think there are very few chances, he is still recovering and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100 per cent.

“He will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.”

The first major of the New Year could one of the most open in recent memory due to circumstances surrounding the ‘Big Three’, who are all locked on 20 career Slam titles.

Rafael Nadal (10/1 – Australian Open Outright) is struggling with a foot injury though has at least confirmed he will take part as things stand, but defending champion Novak Djokovic (6/4) has declined to announce his participation until Tennis Australia reveals the health protocols for the tournament.

The Serb has not confirmed yet whether he has been vaccinated against Covid-19, a pre-requisite of entering the country.

The previous Grand Slam winner was Russian world number two Daniil Medvedev (3/1), who defeated Djokovic in the US Open final, nine months after losing in the Australian Open final.

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