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Source work pays off on Federer’s Australia withdrawal

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AP tennis writer Howard Fendrich has known Roger Federer’s agent since 2005 and kept in touch with him in recent months amid fevered speculation on social media about the star’s return from two knee operations that sidelined him for most of 2020.

The source development paid off: When Federer told his agent that he had decided not to compete in the Australian Open in early 2021, the agent texted Fendrich to give him the news first – even before Federer formally withdrew. Fendrich’s exclusive moved 2 1/2 hours before the tournament director announced Federer’s withdrawal, generating worldwide play. AP was widely credited, including by a leading competitor.

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