The knee injury absence of tournament bedrock Roger Federer combined with fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 chaos have combined to wipe the ATP Basel event from the calendar for this autumn.
The November indoor showpiece has been the career-long personal playground of hometowner Federer, who has lifted the trophy 10 times – including the last three editions at the St Jakobshalle and five of the last six.
“Unfortunately Corona doesn’t have any friends,” TD Roger Brennwald told Swiss media. “Possible ghost games (no fans) or social distancing (inside the multipurpose arena) were out of the question for us right from the start.”
The prestige event has been put back a year to October 23-31, 2021.
Federer got his start in tennis as a ballboy at the tournament; his mother Lynette worked for years with organisers arranging player transportation.
The Swiss who turns 39 on August 8 has been out since the Australian Open, undergoing two medical procedures on his right knee and working for a return to the courts in 2021 – hopefully when the virus has calmed down worldwide.
Federer has a tradition of sharing pizza and shaking hands with dozens of star-struck ball kids after his finals, a gesture which harks back to his own roots as teenager at the event.
Main photo:- Roger Federer lifts 2019 Basel trophy.