Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko is set to be the biggest fight in British boxing history. AJ may have already dispatched 18 opponents in less than two hours, but for our April issue we threw a probing jab at the mighty talent and asked if he is ready to join the legends
Pretty much everyone knows the “10,000 hours” rule. To be successful, to be a winner, to be the best at pretty much anything, you need at least ten solid years of purposeful practice – that’s three hours a day, every day – to achieve true greatness. It was bestselling author and cultural malcontent Malcolm Gladwell who came up with that theory in his 2008 book, Outliers, and it made a lot of sense to a lot of people. Musicians, scientists, athletes and academics agreed: the key ingredient was hard work and dedication. Look at any fitness meme, they’ll tell you the same thing: one per cent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration; the more you practise the luckier you get; winners aren’t born. They are made.
Anthony Joshua hasn’t read Outliers, but he knows the theory. He gets it. Agrees with it even. And yet the IBF heavyweight champion of the world hasn’t quite got his maths right. Not yet. He didn’t start boxing until he was 18 and now he is 27. So that’s nine years, not ten. OK, acceptable parameters. But dig a little deeper and the problems kick in.
As an amateur, he won the senior ABA Championships in only his 18th contest. That made him the best fighter in England in 2010, barely two years after first putting on boxing gloves. Two years after that he became Olympic champion, making him the best in the world after only 43 fights. And as a professional, in three and a half years he has climbed into the ring just 18 times. None of his opponents have survived beyond the seventh round. He’s trained, of course, and trained very hard – make no mistake, he’s put the hours in. But how much time has he spent fighting for real since he joined the paid ranks? That would be a grand total of one hour, 45 minutes and 41 seconds.
Joshua laughs. “It sounds quick when you put it like that. But for me, it hasn’t been quick because I know the reality of my journey,” he says. “I’ve still got five years, more maybe, before I get to be one of the best fighters in the world. It’s hard and I do understand the 10,000-hour rule and all that. But the thing is, I don’t get paid for overtime. Do you know what I’m saying?”
He laughs again. We are sitting in the back of Joshua’s black Range Rover just after wrapping his second GQ cover shoot in less than a year and before he officially opens the new BXR boxing gym he is a partner in. Rather than spit and sawdust, BXR is a boutique fitness facility that promises boxing discipline in stylish, state-of-the-art surroundings. He hopes it will be a home-from-home for visiting boxers (“like Gleason’s Gym in New York or the 5th Street Gym in Miami”) and possibly the first of many similar fight clubs around the country. This, he tells GQ, is just another part of his ever-expanding empire. Joshua isn’t just a boxer; he’s a brand. And he is also a businessman who has big, big plans.
As a pro he has climbed into the ring just 18 times. No opponent has survived past seven rounds
“When I first started, the aim was to become a multimillionaire. But now there are ordinary people, grandmas and granddads, who are worth millions just because of property prices. So the new school of thought is that I need to be a billionaire. Being a millionaire is good, but you have to set your sights higher. If I’m making £10 million from my next fight, my next target has to be making ten times that. And if I get to £100m-150m, why not go for the billion? I know self-made billionaires. It’s hard, but it’s possible.”
The next fight, of course, is why we are here. For Joshua to make it to a billion all depends on one defining factor: he cannot afford to lose. And at the end of April, at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 people in what will be the biggest and richest fight post-war Britain has ever seen, Joshua will face 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko. It is being touted as the young pretender against the aging legend. The man who would be king versus the man who has dominated the heavyweight division for most of the 21st century. Goliath vs Goliath.
It is the fight that will prove, once and for all, if Joshua is the “real deal”, the greatest heavyweight boxer in the world. Or it could bring all the hope, all the hype, the grand plans and billionaire dreams crashing down around him as the referee’s count reaches ten. His rise has been meteoric; his success has come quickly and most of his opponents – some might call them victims – have lost before they even heard the first bell. In boxing terms, he is a destructive force of nature, a combination of the merciless brutality of Mike Tyson, the intimidating presence of George Foreman and the cold-eyed cruelty of Sonny Liston. Whatever he hits, he destroys. And, most chillingly of all, he often does it with a smile on his face. He’s an inspiration to some and a role model to many, practising and preaching the values of honesty, hard labour and respect. And yet…
And yet the jury is still out. Since he became world champion, he has been accused of only taking on hand-picked opponents, tailor-made for his fighting style. Where once he connected brilliantly with his fanbase, some critics now point out the increasing commerciality of his public profile. And, more worrying still, there are rumours and rumblings that he has been hurt several times in sparring, casting doubts on his ability to take a heavyweight hit on his handsome chin. It means the question we really want to know is: how good is Anthony Joshua?
The first time GQ sat down with Joshua was last summer. Over breakfast, discussing his nomination as our Sportsman Of The Year, he described himself as being “at only 50 per cent” of his potential. He claimed he made too many mistakes, didn’t stretch enough, didn’t sleep enough and didn’t eat as well as he should. He also made the point that he worried about investing too much in the sport of boxing, that he didn’t want it to define him. “People need to understand I’m just a man,” he said. “I’m not a god and I’m not a superhero. The only thing real is the struggle.”
Today, I ask him if much has changed since then. “Yeah, I remember that,” he says. “I would honestly say I am smarter now. What’s around me hasn’t changed – my team, the people I trust and love, that’s the same. And my routine hasn’t changed. The struggle is still the same: camp, train, fight, rest, recover. But I am always learning and improving as a fighter and as a man. The big change, though, is this is the year when I have to embrace my job more. To get to where I want to go, to achieve what I want to achieve, I have to invest all I have in boxing.”
If there is a mind-set change, you’d be hard-pressed to spot it unless you know Joshua very well, because on the surface he hasn’t changed at all. In person he is warm and charming, with an instant preternatural charisma. At the photo studio in north London he has as much time and as many smiles for the receptionist on the desk at he does for Mariano Vivanco, the famous photographer. And it feels completely genuine. When I arrive on set, fashionably late, he bounds over for a handshake and a man hug as soon as he spots me. We have only met twice, but not only does he treat me like a long-lost friend, he also has a startling memory for the conversations we’ve had and the things we’ve discussed. He makes you feel special – it is a rare quality that very few people have, least of all his famous peers.
In the flesh – and dressed in just a pair of Under Armour shorts, hand wraps and boxing boots, there is a lot of it to see – he is bigger and more tanned (thanks to having spent the best part of a month in the Middle East) than I remember, and as solid as a postbox, with arms and legs like rolled up Axminster carpets and a neck like a tree stump. He is 6ft 6in, weighs around 18 stone and has a musculature that Atlas himself would admire enviously. He also has a mischievous sense of humour. When I ask him playfully if he is still working the “I’m so humble” shtick, he giggles and tells me, “Aww, I’m over that s***, man. I’m all about tearing it up in Dubai now and hanging with Prince Albert in Monaco.” Then he laughs and gets back to work in front of the camera.
‘When I first started, the aim was to become a multimillionaire. Now I need to be a billionaire.’
But later, when we get down to business with the tape rolling, he is always careful to quantify any joke with a “but seriously” disclaimer. He’s on the record and he knows how this game is played. For instance, when I ask him about that trip to Dubai over Christmas, he focuses on the need for recuperation with friends and family rather than the fun he had racing a Mercedes-AMG GT around the Yas Marina F1 circuit or flying microlights in the desert. He’s not hiding any of that stuff, but he’s mindful not to come across as being a big shot or a show-off.
Read more: Anthony Joshua win Sportsman of the Year 2016
Because, as Steve Martin, global CEO of sport management agency M&C Saatchi, tells me, the key to Joshua’s public appeal so far has been his humility. “You just don’t see that in sport these days and especially not in boxing,” he explains. “For years, boxing has taken the Hollywood/showbiz approach to promotion – big sells, macho posturing, trash talking, press conference theatrics – and Joshua could do all that, but has chosen not to. He is calm, cool and respectful. It is very clever and that has become his USP.”
And Martin would know. Back in the Nineties, he worked with one of the few boxers to bridge the gap between the boxing world and the far more lucrative lifestyle sector, Naseem Hamed, and the “Prince” did things very differently. Larger than life and twice as mouthy, Naz would enter the ring on a magic carpet and treat his opponents with the kind of disdain you’d expect Piers Morgan to receive at a women-only screening of Trainspotting 2. In stark contrast, Joshua’s strength is his authenticity and his refusal to engage in anything as petty as a war of words. Add in his bad- boy-made-good backstory and suddenly the high-end companies who have traditionally avoided involvement with “blood sports” are flocking to his door. However, Martin sees a potential problem.
“What Joshua needs now is really careful management,” he says. “I know he set up his own company [AJ Boxing Management] to handle that, but you can see from his social media feed that the commercial side is starting to intrude more and more. Lucozade bottles popping up here and there, Beats By Dre headphones always on, another spin in a new Jag. If he starts diluting his own brand with clumsy commercial tie-ins, it will hurt him.”
And Joshua certainly wouldn’t be the first Olympic medallist to lose credibility with the public when the money starts rolling in. Amir Khan and James DeGale both succumbed to the allure of making a fast buck and living a “flash lifestyle” and it cost them both credibility and top-dollar contracts. Joshua, however, is clearly smarter than that. He has surrounded himself with a close group of friends (“We’re like a brotherhood,” he says), he monitors all his deals personally and he works as hard at the negotiation table as he does in the gym. He also has a young son, Joseph Joshua, whose financial future he will never put at risk. But the main reason Joshua believes he won’t succumb to boxing’s pitfalls is because, as he openly admits, he has already made enough mistakes to last a lifetime.
As we creep slowly through traffic, when I ask him if he ever imagined his life would turn out like it has, it is clearly not the first time he has considered the question. “No, definitely not,” he says. “We [his team] were talking the other day about an advert we were going to shoot, and the idea was to reflect on what I went through when I was younger. At first, I felt like I didn’t want to include one second of the life I had, when I was leaving the house and getting into trouble. Back then, I thought I was a little ‘G’, running around the streets. But then I realised: that stuff was all part of the journey that got me to where I am now. It’s part of me. Could I imagine where my life was going then? Not at all… Man, I couldn’t even imagine having a payslip!”
‘I was about 14 when I started hanging out with the wrong crowd. I wanted to be my own man’
Before he became AJ the heavyweight superstar, Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua was known to his family simply as Femi. He was born in Watford, grew up on a stereotypical rough and ready estate in a well-kept house and describes himself simply as “a tall, lanky boy with a big head”. Despite his Nigerian parents (mum Yeta and dad Robert) splitting up when he was only around four or five, Joshua’s overriding memory is of being a happy kid. He made plenty of friends, played football, climbed trees and, every now and again, “got up to a bit of mischief”. He wasn’t a bad kid… but bad behaviour arrived in the post soon after the onset of puberty.
“I suppose I must have been about 14 when I started going out and hanging with the wrong crowd,” he says. “My mum moved us to Edgware in around 2002, but I was going to school in Watford. My friends were there and my aunt lived there, so I stayed in the area and I started getting involved in things I shouldn’t have. I should have listened to my family, but I wanted to be my own man and live my own life. I suppose that is how you learn.”
And Joshua learned the hard way. While at Kings Langley Secondary, he admits he took school for granted. He wasn’t badly behaved, but he didn’t work hard enough either. His head teacher, Gary Lewis, described him as “a friendly lad and a fantastic sportsman. Yes, he got into a bit of trouble here and there, but no more than anyone else.” But outside school was a different matter. There were street fights, formal complaints, ABH charges. He was drinking and smoking, going out to nightclubs, and whenever there was trouble – and there was plenty – the police never had a problem picking out the biggest guy in the group.
“Honestly, back then I was just living day-to-day,” he says. “If you’d asked me what I was going to do for work it wouldn’t have extended beyond bricklaying and working on a building site. My thinking was ‘How can I get by?’ There was never a long-term vision of ‘I want to get a mortgage and buy a house.’ Everything was short-term: ‘OK, this week I’m gonna make a quick £250.’ I wasn’t setting myself goals, making plans or nothing like that.”
‘Whenever there was trouble, the police never had a problem picking out the biggest guy in the group’
Finally, having pushed his luck as far as it would go, Joshua found himself banned from the Watford area for a year, wearing an electronic tag and living under curfew with his mum. The penny, though, still hadn’t dropped. Rather than follow a different path, Joshua decided he needed to get bigger and stronger, so that when he returned to his old stomping ground he would command even more fear and respect. He bought a bench press from Argos and got to work, much to the amusement of his cousin Ben Ileyemi. A young boxer himself, Ileyemi recalled visiting Joshua at home. “It was funny,” he said. “Anthony had weights that were too light and he was doing all the wrong exercises. So I showed him a few things and then invited him to come with me to Finchley Amateur Boxing Club in Barnet.”
If you are expecting the line “and the rest is history” you’ll be disappointed. It wasn’t love at first fight. Asked to recall his first training session, Joshua puffs out his cheeks. “It was bad, man. I was drinking and smoking at the time and, as we were driving home afterwards, I told my cousin to pull over because I had a terrible headache. I opened the door and I was throwing up, I was shaking… and it was like all the badness that was inside was spewing out. But I remember thinking to myself afterwards, ‘If I am going to come back to this place. There are a few changes I have to make.'”
He made a lot of them, but not all. Boxing had captured his imagination and he discovered a natural talent he didn’t know existed. He learned quickly, developed physically, won titles and was welcomed into the Team GB squad, but he had one last lesson to learn. In 2010, having fallen back into his old life in Watford, one night Joshua was stopped by police in his Mercedes and found with 8oz of cannabis in his sports bag. The police knew who he was, of course – he was even wearing his official team tracksuit.
He was charged with possession with intent to supply, which had he been found guilty of would probably have ended his boxing career for good. “Luckily they knocked off the intent bit and I got a 12-month community order and 100 hours of unpaid work. I ended up down the allotments,” he said in an interview soon after. It was a sobering moment: Joshua emerged from the last chance saloon and put things right. Within two years he was an Olympic champion and, after a year assessing his options – travelling the world meeting the biggest names in the boxing business (including Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya from Golden Boy, and Frank Warren) and talking things through with Lennox Lewis on a visit to Montego Bay – Joshua decided to turn pro and signed with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.
“I had only been boxing for three years and I did think about staying amateur, but as the Olympic champion I had gone from the hunter to the hunted,” he recalls. “I knew everyone in the amateur game would want to beat me. So by turning pro I had another year to fly under the radar and learn my trade. I needed that extra time fighting in small shows to learn about myself, what I could do, to build my confidence up. I had fights where the risks were reduced, where I could learn what it was to be a professional and become a predator in the division.”
Having carefully guided Joshua seamlessly through his 18 professional fights to the brink of global superstardom, Eddie Hearn admits he is both very excited and very nervous about the forthcoming fight with Wladimir Klitschko. As his promoter, Joshua has helped make the Matchroom boss very rich and the 29 April date at a packed Wembley Stadium, plus a million pay-per-view buys and international TV sales will make him even richer, but Hearn knows one defeat could completely derail the Joshua Express.
“AJ’s very fit, very smart and very strong, of course, but when you are boxing in front of 90,000 people and you have got a wily old 6ft 7in Ukrainian leaning on you, using every trick in the book to sap you of your strength and drain you of your energy, how will AJ cope with that?” he asks anxiously. “It’s a worry, especially if the fight gets into the later rounds – ten, eleven, 12. You have to remember Klitschko is a very tricky customer. He is obsessed with winning back the titles he lost to Tyson Fury in 2015 and that makes him very dangerous. If Anthony Joshua is the fighter everyone has built him up to be – including myself – then he will win. If he’s not, then he has no chance in this fight. Because Klitschko will tie him up, frustrate him, drain him of his confidence and knock him out.”
At the moment, given the way Joshua has obliterated every be-gloved obstacle in his way since his professional debut in 2013, seeing him knocked out is almost unthinkable. During that time, as a fighter, he has demonstrated every single quality a champion needs to reign supreme. Physically, he has a body honed to pugilistic perfection. He uses his height to maximum effect, delivers his jab like a medieval battering ram and unloads so much power behind his clubbing right hand that one opponent said he’d rather be hit with a baseball bat than take another shot from him. He has that classic upright European style and he isn’t the fastest around the ring, but he has quick hands, decent balance and a mean streak that would give an assassin sleepless nights. Ask him what it feels like to knock a man out and he moans almost orgasmically. “Oh… It’s amazing.” Then he laughs. “I just love it, man. And the thing with me is that there is no remorse. When I hurt someone it annoys me when they [the referees] don’t let me finish them. Honestly! Because that is my job.”
But he does have weaknesses. Not many, but they are there. For one, he lacks experience. So far in the sport, he’s only had 61 fights, amateur and pro. He’s never faced an opponent that didn’t crumble before him once battle commenced and he’s never had to chase down a fast, fleet-of-foot fighter and cut off the ring. And he is still learning the psychological side of the fight game. But his biggest weakness, the one real question mark that remains is: can he take a punch? So far in his career, he has only been hurt once, in a frantic British title grudge match against a man who had a win against Joshua from their amateur days, Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte.
In their rematch, back in December 2015, Joshua was in complete control, bullying and stalking his outgunned opponent, uncharacteristically humiliating him by grinning and sticking out his tongue as he repeatedly rocked Whyte back on his heels. But, in desperation and as a last roll of the dice, Whyte threw a left hook that pinged off Joshua’s chin and rocked the man mountain to his boots. He legs stiffened, his head fogged and for a second or two Joshua was in trouble. But Whyte didn’t follow it up and blew his only chance – if you come at the king, you best not miss – and Joshua recovered to win conclusively (and concussively). But that wobble raised a red flag.
Then there have been the sparring stories. Self-styled “big, ‘orrible heavyweight” David Price claims to have knocked Joshua flat on his back in 2011. “If it had been a fight, it would have been stopped immediately,” the Liverpool fighter said. More recently, and more worrying, there have been rumours that Joshua has been knocked out by an amateur cruiserweight called Lawrence Okolie and badly rocked by raw 19-year-old heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois. The announcement late last year that Joshua would be changing trainers, replacing Tony Sims with the more experienced performance director of Team GB, Rob McCracken, did little to dispel the worries. Joshua, however, won’t be drawn on the subject.
“In my code, the fighters’ code, it is not good to talk about sparring,” he says. “If someone invites you to spar, they are inviting you into their secret camp, their inner circle. So I don’t think it is fair to betray that trust by talking about it.” But pushing him a little harder, Joshua concedes that he isn’t the best sparrer in the world. “I don’t go in there to prove a point. If anything, I like to take more punishment because that is how I learn about myself. What is the point of going into sparring and beating everyone up, when in a real fight the tables might turn and I don’t know how to handle it? I want to practise what it feels like to be hit and hurt. You have to learn how to defend, to be slick when the punches are raining down.”
I ask Joshua if he ever worries that he isn’t good enough? If he is scared to find out the truth? He nods. “Yeah. And it is a fear… it’s an insecurity,” he says honestly. “But it’s a valuable one to have, I think. Because that way you are always going to challenge yourself. I do face that for sure, but I’ve always proved myself wrong so far!” He laughs again. “That’s why my ‘stay humble’ motto, the one you don’t like, is so important. Because I am not going to start bigging myself up and saying I am the finished article. Because I’m not. Not yet.”
His promoter, however, has no doubts. “Look, he’s been hurt once in a fight, against Dillian, from a left hook that caught him flush and would have uprooted a tree,” Hearn says. “It was thrown in anger and fear by a fighter who was struggling and you have to remember, in the heavyweight division anyone can knock out anyone. If you ask me, has AJ got a weak chin? My answer is no. I know he hasn’t. Does he have a great chin? I don’t know. We’ll find out in April.”
As our interview comes to a close, I ask Joshua what he thinks will happen in April. He sits quietly for a moment. “I think I will knock Klitschko out,” he says thoughtfully. “I’m not superstitious about it, but I have a feeling that it will happen in a slightly unexpected way. It will be something like a counterpunch that will finish it. It won’t be quick… It will take time because he is so experienced and he isn’t easy to hit. But I will find my opportunity and I will take it.”
When he does – if he does – the world will belong to Anthony Joshua. He will be 27 years old, the rightful king of the heavyweight division. So who comes after Klitschko, I ask? Is it Deontay Wilder, the big punching WBC champion in the US? Is it another Wembley blockbuster against fellow Brit David Haye? What’s the next big fight? Joshua shakes his head and grins. “Nah, man. If I win, I’m the big fight!” He claps his hands together and hoots with laughter. “Hey, you wanted the un-humble interview! I’ll fight anyone. Let’s fight [Freddie] Flintoff! I could fight anyone and it’s a big fight. Because if I win I’ll be The Man. I could even fight you!”
Oh, you don’t want a piece of this, I tell him. You’re not that good.
He gives me one last hug. “You see? You’ve got the trash talk down. We can do this. We could sell, what? A hundred seats, easy. Me and you. After Klitschko, it’s on!”
I wonder if Malcolm Gladwell has any tips for me…
Maria Sharapova Gives a Sarcastic Reply to Mardy Fish About Gifting Him a Porsche
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2021, popularly known as the WTA Stuttgart Open, will be taking place soon. Interestingly, Maria Sharapova is promoting the tournament since she is the brand ambassador of Porsche.
Hilarious as always, former tennis player Mardy Fish asked Maria Sharapova if he could get a Porsche from her on Twitter. Interestingly, the 5-time Grand Slam champion came up with a witty reply.
“Yes. I’d be happy to help you with the purchase,” said Sharapova sarcastically in response.
Sharapova didn’t deny Fish a Porsche but instead agreed to help him with the purchase. Some fans are even suspecting that Sharapova might gift a Porsche to her fellow countryman.
Sharapova has been working as the brand ambassador for Porsche since 2013. Thus, she often promotes its events across many social media platforms. She reminded the fans that even though the WTA Stuttgart Open 2021 is happening in the closed stadium this year, they can still watch it from the safety of their homes.
The tournament will begin on April 19, 2021, and will run till April 25, 2021.
Maria Sharapova at the WTA Stuttgart Open 2021
Sharapova has won the Stuttgart Open title three times in her career. Stunningly, she won the title for three consecutive years in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
In 2012, she led a tough campaign but managed to win the title by defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final. Next year, she thrashed Li Na to win her second back-to-back title. The final match against Caroline Wozniacki in 2014 was probably her toughest, where she made an incredible comeback after losing the first set to clinch her third title.
Only Martina Navratilova and Tracy Austin have won the title on more occasions than Sharapova. Navratilova won it six times while Austin won the initial four editions of the tournament. However, before 2006, the Porsche Grand Prix used to take place in Filderstadt instead of Stuttgart.
Fans got quite disappointed when Sharapova retired suddenly in 2020. They believe that she still has a lot of tennis left in her and can make a comeback. Will Sharapova return to the court?
‘Suffered a lot’: Roger Federer’s startling confession about wife
Roger Federer has opened up about wife Mirka in a revealing insight into the most famous WAG in world tennis.
Roger and Mirka are arguably the most-loved couple in tennis, with fans swooning over their relationship.
Mirka was a budding tennis player before meeting Roger at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, before a number of debilitating injuries forced her to retire.
“My wife Mirka has suffered a lot due to her physical problems,” Federer said in an interview with Ringier.
“Her career ended very early and I myself advised her to end that pain.
“I told her as if it were the simplest thing in the world.
“Looking back on it today, I get a weird feeling. I am still playing tournaments at 40 and I find it difficult to stop.”
Federer also revealed a funny anecdote about when Mirka called him in the middle of a match.
“She once phoned me while I was in the middle of a game,” he recalled.
“She had completely forgotten that I was playing.
“This is exactly what I like about her. When we are in a tournament, she is 100% involved, while at home she is free from all thoughts.”
Roger and Mirka have been married since 2009 and have two sets of twins together – Myla and Charlene and Leo and Lenny.
After retiring from tennis in 2002, Mirka went on to serve as Federer’s manager for a brief period before having children.
Mirka and the kids are often spotted courtside at Federer’s matches, cheering on the Swiss legend.
Meanwhile, Federer will almost certainly miss the Australian Open for the second year in a row, with the Swiss maestro said to be recovering slowly from a third knee surgery in 18 months.
Federer’s long-time coach Ivan Ljubicic has played down fears the tennis world has seen the last of the 20-times grand slam champion, who turned 40 in August.
Federer has played just 13 matches in 2021 and not one since suffering a straight-sets quarter-final loss to Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon in July.
The six-time Open champion’s latest four-month lay-off comes after he spent a year on the sidelines following his record-setting 15th semi-final appearance at Melbourne Park in 2020.
“Roger Federer is very unlikely to play the Australian Open,” Ljubicic told Sky Sport TV on Sunday.
“He is 40 and doesn’t recover as fast as before. But he wants to compete again and won’t retire all of a sudden.
“We will be able to see Roger again next year. I don’t know when exactly, but he is undergoing rehabilitation. He is recovering slowly, he is not in a hurry.”
The veteran superstar was still on crutches when he made a surprise appearance courtside at the Laver Cup in Boston in late September.
“Given that he was still on crutches, I doubt we’d see him here because he needs a longer prep to get ready for a grand slam than what he’s going to be able to have,” Australian doubles great turned commentator Todd Woodbridge told AAP.
Federer contested a record 21 successive Opens from 2000 to 2020 and boasts a remarkable 102-15 win-loss record at the tournament.
EMINEM’S CONVICTED BURGLAR IS BACK ON THE PROWL BEATING DOWN SECURITY GUARDS
Matthew David Hughes, the man who broke into homes looking for Eminem multiple times in an effort to kill him back in 2020, is once again in legal trouble.
Hughes was originally charged with first-degree home invasion and malicious destruction of property but pleaded no contest to second-degree home invasion in exchange for the former charges being dropped.
Hughes pleaded guilty in Macomb County Circuit Court on Monday (November 22) for failing to show up for his probation appointment on September 30. According to court records, he also pleaded not guilty to assaulting the security guard. Following his sentencing, his attorney Richard Glanda said he didn’t know where Hughes would be residing considering he was reportedly homeless upon being arrested.
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The man known to be Eminem’s stalker was originally sentenced to five years probation after serving 524 days in jail for breaking into the Detroit rap star Clinton Township house in April 2020 and threatening to kill him. Eminem allegedly woke up to Hughes towering over his bed and escorted him out of his house where a security guard restrained him until police arrived.
Hughes is currently being held in the county jail on $10,000 bond. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on December 15 for his parole violation.
Drake once had a similar stalking-related situation happen to him, when a knife-wielding woman was arrested in March for trying to break into his Toronto estate. She allegedly struck a security guard with a metal pipe when trying to gain access to the property.