'Shame on you': Aussie tennis fans rage over Roger Federer 'shambles'

·Sports Editor

Aussie tennis fans are up in arms after paying top dollar to see Roger Federer in action at the inaugural ATP Cup in Sydney, only for him to withdraw.

Federer has almost certainly played his last match in the harbour city after pulling out the of the event for family reasons.

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Twenty years after meeting his wife at the Sydney Olympics, Federer was to have been the major drawcard for 2020's season-opening showpiece from January 3-12.

But the 20-times grand slam champion has since opted out, leaving a massive void.

"It is with great regret that I am withdrawing from the inaugural ATP Cup event," Federer said in a statement.

Roger Federer, pictured here in action at the Swiss Indoors event in Basel.
Roger Federer in action at the Swiss Indoors. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

"When I entered the event last month, it was a really difficult decision because it meant less time at home with the family and a fully intense start to the season.

"After much discussion with both my family and my team about the year ahead, I have decided that the extra two weeks at home will be beneficial for both my family and my tennis."

At 38 and with four children, 10-year-old twin girls and five-year-old twin boys, Federer's reasons for pulling the pin are entirely understandable.

But Sydney fans, especially those who have already purchased tickets for the 10 days that the new teams' event is being staged at Olympic Park, are particularly disappointed.

Many flocked to social media to complain about buying tickets at inflated prices because of the Federer factor, with calls for refunds.

Ticketmaster has since set up an online form for ticketholders who want their money back.

Has Sydney seen the last of Federer?

While the six-times Australian Open champion has appeared in Perth's Hopman Cup and the Brisbane International on multiple occasions in recent years, Federer hasn't played in Sydney since a 2011 Davis Cup tie - apart from one exhibition night against Lleyton Hewitt.

His only two appearances at the Sydney International came in 2002, when he won the title, and 2003 when he lost in the first round.

Federer's fondest memories of Sydney remain the 2000 Games when the then-broken-hearted teenager found now-wife Mirka's shoulder to cry on after losing the semi-final to Tommy Haas and the bronze medal play-off to Arnaud Di Pasquale.

He twice missed out on securing a medal, but gained a future wife.

Now it seems Sydney has seen the last of Federer the player forever.

The Federer-led Switzerland team had been drawn in Group C alongside Belgium and Great Britain.

But given Federer's withdrawal, ATP Cup officials intriguingly tweeted.. "therefore Switzerland has been withdrawn as a country that qualified at the first entry deadline. An additional six countries will now qualify at the second entry deadline."

with AAP