BEVERLY HILLS, June 06, (THEWILL) – One week after the French Open started, it has ended for Roger Federer as the Swiss tennis icon withdrew a day after his grueling third-round victory over Dominik Koepfer, the world number 59.
Earlier on Sunday, THEWILL reported on Federer hinting on exiting the Grand Slam.
Now, organisers of the Roland-Garros tournament organisers have announced that the former world number one has withdrawn from the tournament after successfully making it to the fourth round.
Providing a rationale for his decision, Federer noted: “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.”
It was the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s first major event in more than a year after missing time because of his surgeries. The Swiss maestro defeated Koepfer on Saturday in a four-set match that lasted more than three-and-a-half hours and discussed the possibility of pulling out after the win as THEWILL reported.
His post-match comments contained the hint he dropped on Saturday: “I don’t know if I am going to play. I have to decide whether or not to continue. Is it too risky to keep putting pressure on the knee? Is it a good time to rest?
“Every match, I have to reassess the situation and see the next morning in what state I wake up and how my knee is doing. It may be even more true after a match as long as the one tonight.”
Unfortunately, the injuries that have limited the 39-year-old as of late are not letting up. He missed much of the 2020 season as well as the start of the 2021 campaign with his age a factor in his recovery time.
When he returned in March, he could only manage just a 1-2 record to start the year, with losses coming in Doha, Qatar, and Geneva, Switzerland. But, as THEWILL reported, Federer looked like his old self early at Roland Garros. He was comfortable in beating both Denis Istomin and Marin Cilic in the first two rounds.
It was the third-round battle against Koepfer that put him through the grinder. Each of the first three sets went to a tiebreak for a first in 424 Grand Slam matches of his professional career. Although Federer still survived with a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 win, it took its toll on his body.
Roland Garros was an opportunity for Federer to extend a career that includes 20 Grand Slam titles, tied with Rafael Nadal for the most in men’s tennis history, even if that was an unrealistically high bar on clay against Nadal.
Yet, Federer’s withdrawal of an immense letdown as many tennis fans were salivating at the prospect of a potential quarterfinal battle against Novak Djokovic and a semifinal match against Rafael Nadal, if the Swiss had gone that far..
Federer was supposed to meet Matteo Berrettini in round four but with his withdrawal the ninth seed will advance to the quarterfinals. The Swiss veteran will likely now turn his attention to getting healthy for Wimbledon, which is scheduled to begin June 28 in England.
In the end, the withdrawal presents another case of a top professional tennis player placing a high premium on their health. THEWILL recalls that for issues bordering on her mental health, Naomi Osaka decided it was best for her to withdraw after the first round furore over her Press boycott.
The difference here is Federer’s withdrawal was for his physical health. More and more, athletes are exhibiting a focus on the nature of their health and balance beforehand so as not to be at the extremes before taking action to attend to their mind and body.