Six-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer will miss the 2021 edition of the tournament as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.
It will be the first time in his career that Federer has missed the opening Grand Slam of the year, but, having had two operations in 2020, it comes as no real surprise.
The 39-year-old Swiss maestro, who has been out of action since January, had been hoping to return for the delayed tournament, but it proved to be a bridge too far in the end.
The news heralds the end of 21 consecutive years of participation in the Slam Down Under for the evergreen Federer, who has been slowly winding down the number of tournaments he participates in for a few years now.
He will undoubtedly be missed but his agent has suggested that the decision was the best for the long run.
The rigours of Grand Slam tennis are on a completely different level and five set matches can take a brutal toll on the body.
With Federer hoping to extend his career for as long as possible, it just made more sense to back out of the upcoming tournament.
The real hope is that Federer will be fit and firing again for the grass-court season.
Federer on grass is a thing of beauty and there is no doubt that he will be desperate to have another go at his beloved Wimbledon should the tournament go ahead in 2021.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion looks most at home on the iconic courts of SW19 and fans will be hoping for just a few more glimpses of one of the all time greats.
With some incredible up and coming talent working its way to the top, Federer may never win another Grand Slam, but there can be no questioning the fact that any tournament is all the better for having him present.
He is a true gentleman of the game and we hope there are many more years of Roger joy to come.