Local News - Victoria

Elective surgery resumes amid warning over post-op complications

Professor David Story, of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, said he was concerned about elective surgery patients battling chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, who might have delayed seeing GPs and specialists.

“Our concern is a lot of the patients who are now coming in are often a bit older and often have diseases, which may have worsened because there have been delays in diagnosis or getting their surgery,” he said.

“Some of the flow-on effects for this may be greater need for unplanned critical care admissions, so more ICU admissions post-surgery. We still expect relatively small numbers, but it might mean there are more medical emergency team calls and re-admissions of patients with complications.”


Victoria recorded 42 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as Melbourne’s crucial 14-day case average fell below 50 for the first time since the second wave peaked, and the number of active cases dropped below 1000 for the first time in months.

The Premier has set an ambitious goal of 18,750 additional elective surgeries across private and public hospitals in October, and an extra 10,500 surgeries in November.

Elective procedures will go up from 50 per cent to 75 per cent of usual surgeries from Thursday as part of eased restrictions in country Victoria. In Melbourne, that is likely to increase to 75 per cent from September 28.

Mr Andrews said regional Victoria would increase to 85 per cent capacity by September 28 before going back to a normal elective surgery schedule by late October.

In Melbourne, as long as road map targets are met, surgery capacity will scale up to 85 per cent late in October with the introduction of stage two restrictions.

The announcement came as Victoria’s total active cases of coronavirus dropped to 991.

“That is very, very significant – it’s been a long time since we’ve had less than 1000 active cases,” Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews said every patient would be tested for coronavirus before scheduled elective surgery. However, he said it was not always possible to screen patients for COVID-19 when they needed emergency surgery. “Obviously, in some situations that is not always possible. People come in and need to be operated on immediately.”

Professor Story said stringent screening of patients for coronavirus before and after surgery was critical, amid growing global evidence those infected with the virus were at heightened risk of dying or complications.

“We are concerned about patients who may have coronavirus, but we have really good testing and screening happening for that at the moment,” the medical college’s safety and quality committee chair said.

“The really important thing is that it is gradually increased so it can be closely monitored and that it is done on the basis of need for patients.”


A major global study of more than 1000 elective surgery patients, including those who underwent minor procedures, across 24 countries between January 1 and March 31 found the death rate for patients with COVID-19 was almost 19 per cent.

Between 5 and 10 per cent of patients experience complications post-operatively, but Professor Story predicts this will rise as a result of the pandemic.

The announcement was also welcomed by Australian Dental Association Victoria chief executive officer Matthew Hopcraft who said dentists had been inundated by patients presenting for emergency treatment for broken teeth, swollen gums and infected wisdom teeth.

“The main thing is being able to give certainty to patients around when they can receive treatment,” Professor Hopcraft said. “The delays in treatment have caused a lot of angst among dentists and patients who have had their treatment delayed on and off since March.”

Among them is Jennifer Dorell, who has been anxiously waiting for upper and lower jaw surgery to fix an overbite so she could get her braces off this year.

Ms Dorell was scheduled to have her jaw surgery in April, but it was cancelled as coronavirus infections soared.

“I am very over it,” she said. “Anyone who has had braces knows how they cut into your gums and the pain you get with them as well. The uncertainty has been really difficult.”

Ms Dorell expects she will still have to wait up to six months to have her surgery.

“They will likely put patients needing more urgent care ahead of me, which I completely understand,” she said. “I will have to keep my braces for another six months after surgery. That will mean I will have had my braces for almost five years. It has all been pretty disheartening.”

Melbourne man Terry Brown underwent a hip replacement earlier this year, but his rehabilitation has been hindered while he awaits a knee surgery.

“My recovery has plateaued at the moment because both my knees are gone,” the 65-year-old Pascoe Vale man said.

“One of them is really bad and causes me a lot of pain. It makes your life very difficult because you don’t sleep well because of the pain. I try to walk every day, but I come home and my knees are killing me after that.”

Mr Brown is hopeful the resumption of elective surgeries will mean he is able to get his left knee replaced before Christmas.

“It is a big relief,” he said.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said anyone awaiting category two or three surgery could have their case reviewed to determine their priority.

She dismissed claims by the state opposition that the number of patients waiting had ballooned to more than 100,000 as “made up”.

Category two surgeries are procedures that need to happen within 90 days and that cause pain or disability, but are unlikely to escalate to an emergency. This could be something like a standard heart valve replacement. Category three surgeries include procedures such as hysterectomies and hip and knee replacements.

Australian Medical Association Victorian vice-president Roderick McRae said the process must be monitored closely and regularly audited.

“Broadly we are supportive of a staged increase of medical and dental procedures, but it needs to be a slow and sensible ramp up of work,” Dr McRae said.

He added said the resumption of elective surgery must not impede on public hospital capacity to deal with respiratory emergencies.

“The key is we need to keep an operational eye on everything that’s going on,” he said. “If there is a sudden outbreak, then we need to be able to jump on that in a targeted way that does not mean shutting down Victoria.”

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BRCA-P trial to prevent people with BRCA1 gene having surgery

It’s been seven years since Angelina Jolie famously announced she had undergone a double mastectomy to avoid getting breast cancer.

Since then, countless women who have found out they have the BRCA1 gene mutation have opted to have the same surgery, removing both their breasts at a very young age, or undergoing a full hysterectomy to avoid being diagnosed with cancer.

But a new treatment is hoping to prevent the dramatic procedures altogether.

The BRCA-P trial aims to lessen the chance of developing breast cancer in carriers of the BRCA1 gene mutation.

The preventive treatment hopes to bring the risk of breast cancer for those with the gene down from the current 70 per cent.

The trial involves 2918 patients and is open to women with a confirmed BRCA1 gene mutation who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It will investigate if using Denosumab – a drug currently used to strengthen the bones of people with osteoporosis – is a safe and effective way of preventing the disease.

Cousins Raelee Joy and Lisa Lloyd have been the first to sign up.

RELATED: Woman shares confronting images of her post-cancer body after double mastectomy

Raelee Joy, from the Hunter Valley, has experienced a considerable amount of family tragedy in her 46 years.

Ms Joy’s grandmother and two sisters have both had breast cancer, and another has had ovarian cancer.

Her mother is currently battling breast cancer, having just gone through chemo.

Once Ms Joy tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation, as well as her two cousins, she thought that meant a full hysterectomy and mastectomy.

But her surgeon, Dr Christine O’Neil, let her know about the trial and she convinced her cousin to take part as well.

At least one in 400 women in the developed world carries the hereditary BRCA1 gene mutation.

RELATED: Victorian sisters with BRCA gene get double mastectomy on the same day

“Despite knowing the significant odds of me carrying the gene mutation, it was still an enormous shock when I found out I was positive,” Ms Joy said.

“I vowed I would do everything I possibly could to prevent myself from developing breast cancer.

“I had a hysterectomy and thought I’d be having a mastectomy shortly after, but due to working closely with Dr O’Neil who recruited me on the trial, and with regular check-ups with my medical team, I am less anxious about developing breast cancer.

“I’m very glad that hopefully we can improve the outcomes for people with the gene mutation. I’m honestly living life to its fullest alongside my two beautiful grown up children.”

Ms Lloyd, 48, is a registered nurse and has two children, Harrison, 14. and April, 11.

“I have a number of family members who have the BRCA 1 gene,” she said.

“Although I wish that they didn’t for obvious reasons, it has been good to have others there to share the experience with and to talk to about the same issues and decisions that I am facing.”

Ms Lloyd has also had gynaecological surgery to lower her risk of ovarian cancer.

“We both see the same specialists and surgeons, so it is no surprise that we have both made the same decisions when it has come to taking part in this trial,” she said.

Ms Lloyd hopes that their decision will help to make a difference for the next generation in their family.

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Patient allegedly assaults Westmead hospital staff, sending one nurse into surgery

A 26-year-old man will face court tomorrow after allegedly assaulting a security guard and a nurse at a hospital in Sydney’s west yesterday.

Police were called to Westmead Hospital around 5am Friday, September 11, after reports that a patient had allegedly punched a security guard and inflicted a serious head injury upon a nurse.

The man was receiving treatment when he allegedly turned on a 40-year-old security guard, punching him in the face and arm.

Police said the man then approached the nurse’s station and allegedly punched the nearest nurse, 31-year-old woman Bec Davies, in the back of the head.

Hospital staff claim he did not seem aggressive and initially they did not raise the alarm, Nine News reported.

“All of a sudden he jumped out of bed and tried to go for our security guard, and chasing him, and started punching him in the back,” Ms Davies told the network.

RELATED: Bride dying from cancer ’rallies’ after wedding

“And then the security guard was so scared he just started running – he ran round the whole department … in front of all the other patients.”

She claimed he stopped chasing the security guard before turning his attention on her.

“He looked like he wanted to kill someone,” she said.

“I was shocked that I became the target, out of nowhere.”

Ms Davies said she tried to run, but the man’s arms went around her neck and she collapsed into a doorframe.

While the security guard suffered minor injuries and was treated by hospital staff, Ms Daviese needed more serious care. She suffered a head injury and had to be transferred to another hospital for further treatment. obtained disturbing images showing the extent of damage sustained to the nurse.

The 26-year-old man was restrained and sedated by hospital staff.

Officers from Parramatta Police Area Command were called to the scene and said they “commenced an investigation”.

After being initially released, the 26-year-old man was then picked up by police about 11am today and officially charged.

He was charged with common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and reckless wounding.

The accused, from the nearby suburb of Winston Hills, was refused bail and is due to appear at Parramatta Bail Court tomorrow, September 13.

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Local News - Victoria

Border cancer patient refused entry to SA for surgery

The trip to Warrnambool takes about seven hours, while the journey to Adelaide from her home in the rural hamlet of Koorlong, 20 kilometres south-west of Mildura, takes only four hours.

Mrs Knight said she personally knew three other patients from Victorian-South Australian border communities caught by the new regulations, and had heard from many more after she posted details of her plight on Facebook.

“You wouldn’t believe how many people have contacted me. I am quite sure there are hundreds of us,” she said.

Mrs Knight said she was terrified about travelling from her coronavirus-free district to Warrnambool, where several active COVID-19 cases had been recorded.

“It is a very stressful thing – I’m going to have to drive seven hours to Warrnambool to see a surgeon I’ve never met and who knows nothing about me,” she said.

“And I’m angry and that’s a good thing, because it means I will start fighting.”

South Australia has all but closed its Victorian border.

South Australia has all but closed its Victorian border.

Mrs Knight has written to the South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, asking for their intervention.

“So far, I’ve only received one response, and that was an acknowledgement that Steven Marshall’s office had received my letter.”

Mrs Knight knows something about fighting. Since 2007 she has battled a variety of cancers, from breast cancer to a rare cancer of the salivary glands, relying on specialists in Adelaide to get her through.

Her latest trial involves a form of carcinoma that is invading the site of a former surgery on a gland in her face. A small neurostimulator device was inserted into her face to control nerve pain and the new carcinoma must be removed to prevent it interfering with the pain-relief instrument.

The delicate operation was to be undertaken by a plastic surgeon with the assistance of a neurosurgeon, both of whom Mrs Knight knows and trusts.

She had planned to drive to Adelaide next Monday to undertake two weeks in quarantine to prepare for the operation.

But when she applied to South Australia Health for an exemption from the new hard-border law, she was denied. A second application was also denied. An exemption is required before South Australian Police can issue a cross-border travel permit.

Mrs Knight said she and many residents of border communities were doubly infuriated because the Marshall government has announced that 300 foreign students would be allowed to fly in to South Australia next month.

Last week the South Australian government imposed a hard border that allows cross-border travel from Victoria only for Year 11 and 12 students, farmers whose properties straddle the border, trucks carrying essential goods and those requiring lifesaving medical treatment.

Mrs Knight said she could not understand how health bureaucrats could have reached a decision to deny her an exemption, because the treatment she required was lifesaving.


“Of course it is lifesaving: this cancer can spread to all my organs and can kill me eventually,” she said.

State border restrictions were discussed by the national cabinet last week but the question of introducing greater flexibility was unresolved.

If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond Blue’s coronavirus mental wellbeing support service on 1800 512 348.

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Ben Simmons likely to be ruled out of NBA finals, requires surgery on injured knee

Boomers superstar Ben Simmons is set to miss the NBA finals to undergo surgery on his left knee, dealing a hammer blow to Philadelphia 76ers’ championship hopes.

The 76ers announced on Saturday that Simmons will be leaving the NBA’s season-restart bubble at Disney World in Orlando.

There was no immediate timeframe for his return, and it’s likely that no firm timetable on his recovery will be set until after the surgery.

Simmons left Philadelphia’s game against Washington on Wednesday midway through the third quarter after dislocating his kneecap.

Tests performed since revealed a loose body inside the knee, which led to the decision for surgery.

“After consultation with the 76ers medical staff and several specialists, Ben Simmons will undergo surgery in the coming days to remove a loose body in his left knee,” the 76ers said in a team release.

“The loose body resulted from a left patella subluxation he suffered in Wednesday’s game against Washington.”

Losing Simmons is the latest issue for a franchise that has endured many tough breaks in recent years on the injury front.

The 76ers went 47-199 in coach Brett Brown’s first three seasons — the start of the infamous “Trust The Process” era — then improved to 28-54 in 2016-17 and have become one of the Eastern Conference’s top clubs in the three seasons since.

“I do genuinely believe that this can galvanise our group and bring us in sort of an inverted way together,” said Boomers coach Brown of Simmons’ absence.

Simmons is averaging 16.4 points, eight assists and 7.8 rebounds this season, and his 35.4 minutes per game leads the 76ers.

The 76ers have clinched a play-off spot and cannot fall lower than sixth in the Eastern Conference, no matter what happens in the remainder of the seeding games.


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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 348 COVID-19 cases and six deaths, elective surgery suspended

“We don’t run this sector but the residents in these homes are all Victorians. The Commonwealth government have asked for help and that is exactly what my government and our agencies will provide.”

Elective surgery for those other than category one and the most urgent category two patients will be suspended, to make sure hospitals have the beds, equipment and staff available if aged care residents need to be transferred, he said.

Of the Victorians who died in the past day, three were aged in their 80s, two in their 90s and one in their 70s.

Mr Andrews said the outbreaks in aged care were a “critical challenge”, however residents would not be moved out en masse.

Aged care makes up 769 of the 4775 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria.

About 2000 residents have already been moved from private sector aged care to public and private hospitals.

Mr Andrews said the response to the crisis would be co-ordinated out of the State Control Centre.

“This is a shared challenge,” he said.

“My commitment to all is we will do everything we can with this, everything we’re asked to and we’ll go above and beyond that. We owe it to each of those residents. We owe it to their families.”

Over 170 residents have been moved out of aged care facilities hit by COVID-19 outbreaks, with more transfers planned in coming days.

Premier Daniel Andrews said he couldn’t put a number on how many would be moved to hospitals, however he said it would be a “massive exercise”.

“I would make the point again that the vast majority of residents will be safer to stay in their home but have additional care,” he said.

The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is now 83. There are now 260 people in hospital in Victoria with coronavirus, 45 of them in intensive care.


Tuesday’s 384 cases represent a significant drop from Monday’s record figure of 532.

Epidemiologists say the daily numbers are not a very good guide to the overall state of the epidemic, and that Victoria’s COVID-19 pandemic may have peaked.

The crucial number is the effective reproduction number, which measures whether an epidemic is growing or shrinking. If the number is one, the epidemic is considered to be stable.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the number was calculated twice a week and he said on Tuesday he expected it would be “very close to one, if not below one”.

“So there should be a downward pressure on transmission in the community but, again, whenever you have a setting that allows for significant outbreaks to occur that can also drive that R number up,” he said.

Babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital have returned negative tests after four cases were linked to the ward on Monday.

Two parents, one patient and a healthcare worker at the RCH recently tested positive to COVID-19.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said all follow-up tests of babies had come back negative, with one still pending.

Victoria Police issued 79 fines in the past 24 hours for breaches of coronavirus restrictions, five of which were issued at vehicle checkpoints.

Almost a third of the fines (23) issued on Monday were to people in Melbourne’s lockdown zone who refused to wear a face-covering.

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Collingwood’s Jordan De Goey to have finger surgery in the wake of Magpies’ 22-point AFL win

Collingwood’s Jordan De Goey will undergo finger surgery this weekend after injuring himself during his five-goal display against Geelong.

De Goey injured the flexor tendon in his right middle finger in the third quarter of the Magpies’ 22-point win in Perth on Thursday night.

He kicked three of his five goals in the final term but finished the match with strapping on his right hand.

De Goey will remain with the Magpies squad in their Western Australian hub while completing his recovery.

The 24-year-old could be sidelined for up to two months, however the Magpies will not put a timeframe on his return.

“We will have a better idea of an expected return date following his surgery,” Magpies general manager of football Geoff Walsh said in a statement.

De Goey had returned to the Magpies line-up for the Cats encounter after missing last week’s victory over Hawthorn in Sydney.

Earlier this month he was charged with indecent assault over an alleged incident from 2015.

The win over the Cats was the Magpies’ fourth of the season, moving them into provisional second place on the ladder.

They will not have to play again until July 26, when they face West Coast in the second match of their Perth stay.

A Geelong AFL player pushes against a Collingwood opponent as they prepare to contest for the ball in Perth.
The Magpies’ win over the Cats moved them to second spot on the ladder.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

Meanwhile, the Magpies have suspended the memberships of two supporters after they made offensive comments on social media following Thursday night’s match.

The club did not outline the nature of the comments but said the two members would complete a respect and responsibility education course before their memberships would be restored.

“The posts were not acceptable and we have an obligation to call them out,” Magpies chief executive Mark Anderson said.

“Tolerance, the celebration of difference and respect are qualities important to what we are striving for at Collingwood but none of these grant anyone the right to insult and demean others.

“We expect better of everyone involved with the club.”


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Local News - Victoria

Melbourne’s elective surgery patients to be tested for COVID-19

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos on Friday.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos on Friday.Credit:Joe Armao

The announcement comes after outbreaks among staff in at at least a dozen hospitals in recent weeks, including The Alfred, the Northern Hospital, the Royal Melbourne, the Royal Women’s, Brunswick Private, Box Hill Hospital and St Vincent’s.

Tony Bartone, president of the Australian Medical Association, welcomed the initiative, but warned that the new testing program should not lead to complacency over personal protective equipment and safety protocols in hospitals.

“We still need to take all the appropriate precautions to protect our healthcare staff as best as possible, regardless of whether a test says yay or nay,” he said.

Dr Bartone said the single-test plan was not foolproof in stopping coronavirus being introduced to hospitals.

“There is a lag period between the test and the result,” he said. “You could test negative but depending on where in the incubation cycle the virus is, you could still develop it a few days later.”


He said testing people before elective surgeries had been considered earlier in the pandemic, but at the time it was not considered a priority.

“With the low level of community transmission at the time, it is not the best use of scarce resources,” he said.

Dr Bartone said that, even now, community testing – especially in hotspot zones, public housing and aged-care facilities – was much more important than testing patients on surgery waiting lists.

“What we really need to be doing is really seeking and reaching out to all the possible cases in the available areas where we know we’ve got increased transmission,” he said.

“They need to be religiously tested and followed up.”

Ms Mikakos said those requiring emergency surgery would not need to be tested or wait for a result.

A Sunshine Hospital nurse was infected with COVID-19 after treating a coronavirus-positive Cedar Meats worker who needed emergency care on a severed thumb.

The testing plan comes as the state reduces its elective surgery capacity to 75 per cent in case hospitals become flooded with coronavirus patients.

The state government had originally planned to allow all Victorian hospitals to return to 100 per cent of their usual elective surgery operating theatre capacity in July, but reversed the stance last week.

Ms Mikakos has encouraged people with health problems to keep seeking treatment during the crisis, despite the decision on elective surgeries.

“It’s important people continue to look after their health during the pandemic – no one should put off seeking medical care if they need it. Our hospitals are safe and open to everyone,” she said.

Patient advocates have called on governments to unveil a plan to catch up on surgery waiting lists.

With Dana McCauley

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Aussies spending superannuation on plastic surgery and new cars are ‘obviously breaking the rules’

For thousands of Australians, the Federal Government’s Super Early Release Scheme – introduced in the wake of the coronavirus-fuelled economic crisis – has been dubbed a “lifeline”.

Under the scheme, as many as 2.1 million people applied to access their superannuation early, with those deemed eligible able to grab $10,000 from their super last financial year and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Last month, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority figures showed $14.8 billion had already been withdrawn.

At June 7, 2.12 million applications to access super early had been lodged with the tax office.

RELATED: ATO’s grim warning for Aussies

RELATED: How much you will save from tax cuts

Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Jane Hume, said that the decision to take the money out now – or build a nest egg over time – was a “big deal”.

“For many people, the benefit of taking that money out now outweighs the benefit of leaving it in the future,” Ms Hume said.

“The government isn’t in the business of telling people how to spend their money.”

Critics have argued accessing your superannuation should be a “last resort” only, after it was revealed by Industry Super Australia (ISA) about 480,000 Aussies had cleared out their funds completely, and that accessing cash now would have dire long-term consequences for retirement nest eggs.

On average, about 15 per cent of Australian workers have accessed their super early.

Three states were above the national average – Queensland at 20 per cent, Northern Territory 19 per cent and Western Australia 16 per cent. Only 8 per cent of ACT workers accessed their super early.

Those critics have taken it one step further following a report on 60 Minutes on Sunday night that showed some Australians who have withdrawn $10,000 from their superannuation splashing the cash on “non-essential luxuries” like plastic surgery and new cars.

Cassandra Garcia, a 41-year-old mother and businesswoman, put the cash toward a “series of surgeries” that included a boob job and liposuction on her torso, legs and chin, purchases that she deemed “essential” to her own self-confidence.

Asked if she’d taken the money out in the spirit that the government intended, Ms Garcia said she’d “definitely put the money back into the economy, I haven’t just left it in my bank account”.

“The reality is, I’m OK with my decision. At the end of the day, this is all of our money, it is not money that we’re loaning from the bank,” she said.

According to some, though, this behaviour is “obviously breaking the rules”.

“If you’re spending your super draw down on a boob job, you’re obviously breaking the rules,” ABC business reporter David Taylor wrote in a tweet.

“And ill-informed,” fellow ABC business reporter Rachel Pupazzoni replied.

Others commented it was “laughable” that people like Ms Garcia had been approved to withdraw their super.

“Classic short-term thinking from the government and from those who’ve taken the money but aren’t experiencing financial hardship,” another viewer commented.

“Have fun now and who cares about future. Hope they don’t whinge about not having enough money when they’re trying to survive on pension.”

“No thought for the future. Appalling that some consider a car and cosmetic surgery essential,” wrote another, in response to Ashleigh Masterson, a 26-year-old who lost her job at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, using part of her withdrawn super funds to purchase a new car.

But while many were critical of people’s “frivolous” spending, others defended their financial decisions, claiming “the money belongs to the individuals”.

“If they choose to spend it freely, let’s not forget it will provide a boost to the economy,” one viewer commented on Facebook.

“There is no right or wrong in this situation but I for one am someone who desperately NEEDED it and am so grateful for its help!!!” wrote another.

“A minority will always use things in a way that it’s not intended, the majority need it. It’s people’s money at the end of the day.”

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Australian News

Roger Federer to miss rest of 2020 tennis season after another knee surgery

Roger Federer will miss the rest of the 2020 tennis season after undergoing a second knee surgery a few weeks ago, but the 38-year-old wants fans to know this will not be the end of his career.

The winner of 20 major singles titles struggled with injury at the 2020 Australian Open, where he made a semi-final exit to eventual champion Novak Djokovic, and has not played competitively since.

He underwent surgery on the right knee in February but said he needed another procedure after suffering a setback while rehabilitating after the initial operation.

“Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100 per cent ready to play at my highest level,” he tweeted.

The men’s and women’s tours are currently on hold until at least July 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A return to play in 2020 is not guaranteed, and if it does, major tournaments will need to be rescheduled.

The second major of the year, the French Open was supposed to have just finished, but was instead shifted to September 20 by the French Tennis Federation (FFT).

Two male tennis players congratulate each other at the net after their Australian Open tennis match.
The last time Federer played, at the Australian Open, he was clearly hampered by injury.(AP: Andy Brownbill)

The FFT’s announcement reportedly came without consultation with other major stakeholders, which include the International Tennis Federation, the Association of Tennis Professionals governing the men’s game and the Women’s Tennis Association, as well as the national federations responsible for Wimbledon and the US Open.

But those other majors have not set rescheduled dates, with world number one Djokovic saying the US Open as currently set up would not be enticing for him or many other players on tour.

It is set to kick off on August 31 in New York City, one of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19, meaning there would likely be harsh restrictions on players.

Djokovic said a limit on the size of players’ support teams and restricted access to things like practice courts were “quite extreme conditions for playing”, which he said would likely be unsustainable.

“Most of the players I have talked to were quite negative on whether they would go there,” he told Serbian state broadcaster RTS.

“For me currently, as things stand, most probably the season will continue on clay at the beginning of September.”


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