Roger Federer feels that a couple of players who pulled out of the tournaments leading up to the Australian Open due to injuries may be missing from action at the Rod Laver Arena as they will need a few more days to recover.
Nadal had been plagued by problems in his knee since the end of 2017 when he had to pull out of the Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour midway through the tournament, despite having made strides in both events after winning the US Open.
Meanwhile, the Serb has not played competitive tennis since his loss in the quarter-finals at the 2017 Wimbledon and was expected to return to action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship starting on 28 December. However, he had to withdraw at the last moment. He was still feeling some pain in his elbow which forced him into reconsidering his recovery path.
Apart from the duo, Stanislas Wawrinka is also not playing in any tournament before the grand event while Andy Murray is also feeling his way back into fitness. Federer insists that the pull-outs may well be precautionary but something tells him that all of them won't be able to make it in time for the first major tournament of the year.
It will come as a massive boost for the Swiss ace, who will be looking to defend his Australian Open title, which he won last year beating Nadal in the finals.
"They pulled out maybe because they're not quite ready or because they need another couple of weeks because if you do pull out the first week of the season, you can fly under the radar a bit longer," Federer said, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
"I think that's important for them and then we'll really know in a week's time or in ten days's time who is gonna pull out. So far maybe it's precautionary. I hope that they all get back at the same time but something tells me that probably two guys out of the five, six that have been injured for a while now, probably won't make it because it seems too many guys are fighting something."