Tennis star, Roger Federer, said has announced that he was withdrawing from the French Open despite having reached the fourth round, opting to focus on his primary objective of winning a ninth Wimbledon title.
He explained that the decision followed several discussions with his team and other important stakeholders in his project, particularly his medical experts.
Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam title winner, who would be 40 in two months’ time, battled over three and a half hours until 12:45 Sunday morning to reach the last 16 with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win over 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer.
He was due to be back on court on Monday to tackle Matteo Berrettini for a place in the quarter-finals. However, having undergone two knee surgeries in 2020, the Swiss star admitted that there were doubts over whether he would make it.
Federer is playing only in his third tournament since last year’s Australian Open and has always said Wimbledon was his main goal.
“After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of Roland Garros today. After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery. I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on the court,” the 39-year-old said.
He is chasing a ninth title at Wimbledon which starts on June 28. He is also scheduled to play the warm-up grass-court tournament in Halle beginning on June 14, the day after the French Open ends.
Federer, who made his Roland Garros debut in 1999 and was champion in 2009, was playing a night session for the first time in his third-round tie. However, the almost empty 15,000-capacity Court Philippe Chatrier was eerily silent due to a Covid-19 curfew.
It is likely that this was Federer’s final appearance at the tournament. His return this year was only his second participation since 2015.
“The Roland Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night,” said Guy Forget, the tournament director.
“We were all delighted to see Roger back in Paris, where he played three high-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”
After winning his match, Federer said that he was pacing himself in his recovery.
“All the matches I’ve played since the injury are information for the rest of the season. It gives me great pleasure to be able to play 3hr 30min at a high level against a very good player. It shows that I’m on the right track.”