Switzerland International and World number three, Roger Federer has pulled out of the Madrid Open tournament this week because of a back injury.
Federer said he had sustained the back injury during training on Saturday and had to pull out in order not to worsen the situation.After arriving in Spain for the event, the all-time Grand Slam leader said he hurt his back “a little bit in practice” and wasn’t going to be able to get it right in time for his opening match on Wednesday.This isn’t Federer’s first go-round with back problems. He dealt with a lingering injury during his lost season of 2013, when he went 45-17 while recording his earliest recent exits at Wimbledon (second round) and the U.S. Open (fourth round).
ALSO READ: FOOTBALL: Hiddink Hails Leicester City, Says Ranieri Called To Thank Him
This is Roger Federer though. He doesn’t miss Grand Slams. The last time he did was back in 1999, when he missed that year’s U.S. Open. Since then, he’s played every one — 65 in a row — meaning he hasn’t missed a single major this century.
That record streak of 65 is more than two years better than the No. 2 player on the list. Federer has actually never missed a Slam for injury reasons. The two he didn’t play (the 1999 Australian Open and 1999 U.S. Open, which took place when he was 17 and 18, respectively) were only because he failed in qualifying.Given Federer’s streak, the pull of playing, even with a slightly tweaked back, may be too strong. Sometimes you play hurt.Federer should give up that impulse though. If his back isn’t 100 per cent (or as close to 100 per cent as it’s ever going to get for a 34-year-old tennis player who’s competed in nearly 1400 professional matches) he has to bail on Paris.The streak is going to end one day and though the idea of going out romantically, without ever having missed a Slam, is certainly alluring, playing at a high level at 35 years old and beyond should be the bigger goal, something that would be jeopardised by returning too quickly from a back injury just to keep up a record he already owns to play a tournament at which he’s never been very successful.
Federer, Madrid champion in 2012, returned to action in Monte Carlo in April following knee surgery.”I arrived and I was OK,” said Federer. “Then I practiced on Saturday and hurt my back a little bit and stopped early. I was supposed to practice for two hours – I had to stop after an hour and 15 minutes.At this point I don’t want to take more chances as I know I’m not going to be fully ready for Wednesday. I would rather play it safe and rest up now and get ready for Rome.”