Sending out a typically subtle message amid frenzied speculations around his future in tennis, Roger Federer has confirmed participation at the 2022 edition of the annual grass court event at Halle, Germany.
Halle has been one of the luckiest venues for Roger Federer
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has used Halle as a springboard for success at Wimbledon and it will be no different this year as he bids to mark his All-England return with a 21st career Grand Slam title.
Along with Federer, Japanese tennis ace Kei Nishikori has also confirmed participation at the 2022 edition of the tournament.
However, in a blow to spectators, who had been counting down the days to watching the champion back in action on one of his favorite turfs from the stands, the tournament organizers on Thursday announced that the event will be held behind closed-doors.
The decision comes as little surprise as countries across Europe have been grappling with rising Covid-19 cases and the move, according to top tournament officials, was the best available option to ensure player safety.
The start of the French Open, too, has been delayed by a week in view of a spike in Covid numbers in Paris and elsewhere in the country.
The 39-year-old Swiss, who holds a record 10 titles at Halle and is in sight of a new one this year, had earlier confirmed his participation at the event this year.
Roger Federer had a taste of the new normal at ATP Doha earlier this year
Though he had been out of action for 14 months since undergoing a second knee surgery last year, Federer had a taste of the new normal in Doha, in rather amusing circumstances, when he came close to flinging his towel to a ball boy only to check himself later.
The organizers have said that all those who had purchased tickets for the event have been intimated of its decision.
A statement released by them said, “Since the health of our visitors, players, partners and employees is of course the top priority for us…we unfortunately only have the option of holding the tournament without visitors this year….”
They also let it be known that the tickets purchased will remain valid till the event next year.
The line-up this year also features the likes of current World No.2 Daniil Medvedev, his Russian compatriots Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov, Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut and veteran Austrian star David Goffin, among others.
Read More: “It’s Easy in Switzerland”: Roger Federer Details How a Normal Day Looks Like in His Homeland
The tournament will kick off on June 13 and culminate on June 20.