Switzerland international and World number three Roger Federer is set to miss next month’s French Open after being ruled out due to a back injury.
The draw for Roland Garros takes place on Friday morning and for the first time in 65 Grand Slams it will not include the name of the great Swiss.To no great surprise Federer announced his withdrawal at teatime on Thursday, having deemed his back is not up to a fortnight’s clay court tennis after practising in Paris. The decision comes after minor knee surgery in February and unspecified back complaints that have hampered his Spring so far. Three months off his 35th birthday the body is becoming less willing.
He went to his facebook page to write ‘I have been making steady progress with my overall fitness, but I am still not 100 per cent and feel I might be taking an unnecessary risk by playing in this event before I am really ready, that medium that nobody had dreamed of when he last missed a Major’.
Federer was, though, keen to emphasise that he plans to be back at the French next year and that he is now very much focused on the forthcoming grass court swing, which represents by far his best chance of winning an 18th, and probably final, Grand Slam’.
‘This decision was not easy to make, but I took it to ensure I could play the remainder of the season and help to extend the rest of my career. I remain as motivated and excited as ever and my plan is to achieve the highest level of fitness before returning to the ATP World Tour for the upcoming grass court season.I am sorry for my fans in Paris but I very much look forward to returning to Roland Garros in 2017.’
Its immediate impact is to bump Rafael Nadal up to No 4 seed, meaning that he cannot meet either Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray until the semi-finals. The winner is likely to be permed from those three with defending champion Stan Wawrinka having experienced something of a slump.
Federer will be hoping to be fit for his next scheduled event, which is the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart in the week immediately after Roland Garros.