Roger Federer explains decision to pull out

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Tennis will be without its number one star as it attempts to begin 2020 with a bang, but Roger Federer insists his decision to skip the inaugural ATP Cup is the right one.

The new team event, which will be held across Sydney, Brisbane and Perth from January 3-12, which will be played instead of the Hopman Cup, is now the main lead-up tournament to the Australian Open for men’s players.

Federer raised eyebrows earlier this month when he announced he wouldn’t be attending so he could spend the time at home in Switzerland with his family.

It came as he committed to a string of exhibition matches immediately following this week’s ATP Finals in London, including trips to Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Ecuador. He is also playing longtime rival Rafael Nadal in a match in South Africa next February.

Federer said he had initially planned to play the ATP Cup but the desire to spend more time at home — and the withdrawal of Stan Wawrinka, who would have been his teammate — changed his mind.

“When we had to sign up for the ATP Cup it was shortly after Wimbledon, for me it was always a logical decision to play the first week,” Federer said.

‘The South America exhibition tour was already long in scheduling, something I’d wanted to do for a long time. I couldn’t do it because of my knee, because of the birth of my children, couldn’t do it the year after or two years after because it was going to be too much.

“South America had priority for me to be quite honest but ATP Cup too to play the first week. But then when I realised Stan wasn’t going to play, the family wasn’t going to travel to Sydney, honestly I said I’d rather be home with the family and take it easy, train some more and make the priority Australian Open and the World Tour Finals.

“And also having the dream match with Rafa in South Africa on February 7, on that I’ve been trying to get a date with Rafa for the last two or three years. That was always going to be a priority for me as well.

“Something just had to give and that was the ATP Cup. I was going to be very happy to play but it wasn’t that level of importance for me. That was that. Normally I don’t take these kinds of decisions like this but I kind of got into that situation having to take a decision after Wimbledon.

“And it was also a little bit connected – I know you might take this as a joke, but it’s not – to announcing Olympics. My family was always going to travel with me to Japan. With my wife we try to come up with a really good schedule for the kids.

“At the end we weren’t ready to do. We wanted to be in the same place for a long time. I don’t think it’s contradictory at all.’

The world number three, who has played in the past three editions of the Hopman Cup, was not concerned about heading to Melbourne Park for the year’s first major without any lead-up play.

“At the end of the day I think with age and experience I can be confident about what I do in training,” he said.

“I’ll travel to Melbourne early to make sure I give myself the best chance to get ready. I believe I can be ready, I don’t think I need a ton of matches always, especially on the hard courts. Maybe I’m a bit more dependent on the draw earlier on in the Australian Open. The key is health.”



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