Swashbuckling Australian Open TD Craig Tiley is living close to the edge, all but assuring that Roger Federer will front up for the joyless quarantined Grand Slam – including taking on a 14-day quarantine inside a hotel room in Melbourne.
While the Federer camp – and the man himself – have cast doubts on whether the 39-year-old will bother to risk his hard-won fitness with two weeks of near-inactivity after spending most of 2020 rehabbing a pair of knee operations, Tiley seems to be taking little notice
“To this point we have a commitment from every single player in the world to be in Australia,” the South African told Australian media.
“That is a magnificent position to be in. Obviously as everyone knows it is the beginning of the season so anything can happen with that entry list but the commitment is there.”
Last weekend., Federer said at a Swiss awards ceremony that any decision to make the trip from his training base in Dubai on a charter flight to Melbourne would be made at the last possible moment after consultations with his coaching and physio team and checking his training fitness.
Tiley may be starting to come to grips with reality: “He Federer) did say to us that February 8 was a more suitable date for him in preparing for the Australian Open.
“A lot will depend how he responds to the surgery in the next two to three weeks of training.”
Tiley is also spruiking the appearance of Serena Williams, who has been out of the public eye for months after losing in the Roland Garros second round on September 30..
“I think Serena is particularly excited because she has got a record to beat,” the TD said.
“Rafa (Nadal) and Roger are both on 20 (Grand Slam titles), Novak Djokovic has been a dominator here, dominated the play here at Melbourne Park and he wants to close the gap between Rafa and Roger.”