Former world number one Roger Federer, who is targeting a record 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, withdrew from the French Open on Sunday, a day after winning a tough third-round match, opting to save himself for the grass-court season.
“After discussions with my team, I decided that I should withdraw from the French Open today,” Federer said in a statement released by the French Tennis Federation.
“After two knee operations and more than a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and not rush back into competition,” the 39-year-old Swiss added.
Federer, who has hardly played in the last 17 months because of a knee injury, suffered physically in his four-set, late-night victory over German Dominik Koepfer on Saturday and decided to end his Roland Garros campaign ahead of what would have been a punishing fourth-round match against Italian Matteo Berrettini.
He had said after Saturday’s match that he was pondering whether to participate in the second week of the claycourt Grand Slam as his season goal was Wimbledon, the grass-court major starting on June 28.
Federer to assess further participation at Roland Garros
Roger Federer has said he will assess his further participation in the ongoing French Open after a gruelling 7-6(5) 6-7(3) 7-6(4) 7-5 win over Germany’s Dominik Koepfer on an empty Court Philippe Chatrier in Saturday’s night match.
The 20-times Grand Slam champion was competing in only his sixth match in 17 months following knee surgery and suggested after the third-round clash which ended past midnight that he could preserve himself for Wimbledon which begins on June 28.
Asked how much he would want to push himself through the whole tournament, the 39-year-old Swiss told reporters: “We go through these matches… we analyse them highly and look on what’s next and we’ll do the same tonight and tomorrow.
“Because I need to decide if I keep on playing or not or is it not too much risk at this moment to keep pushing or is this just a perfect way to just take a rest.
“Because I don’t have the week in between here and Halle (June 14-20), like normal, to see what’s best now if you count back from Wimbledon and so forth.
“It’s just a lot going on, but having a match like this, knowing I could have probably played a fifth set but not knowing how I will wake up tomorrow is interesting, to say the least. Yeah, it’s definitely a different time right now for me.”
Federer, who faces Matteo Berrettini for a place in the quarter-finals where he could potentially meet world number one Novak Djokovic, said he would have liked to know he is at his best like Djokovic or holder Rafa Nadal.
“… I would prefer to be in Rafa’s or Novak’s shoes right now where they’re like, ‘I’m feeling good. If I’m playing well, I’m winning’,” Federer said.
“I don’t have that feeling right now, so for me these are all stepping stones… to something that is really important to me. It’s the season and it’s the comeback. I need matches like these, you know.”