Roger Federer recently announced his withdrawal from the French Open and stated his long-term injury and rehabilitation as the reasons behind his decision.
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After spending considerable time on court through the first three rounds of the French Open, Roger Federer issued a statement saying he would withdraw from Roland Garros due to injury concerns. “After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of the French Open 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 court,” Roger said.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) June 6, 2021
In early 2020 Federer had to undergo knee surgery which was set to keep him out for nearly 6 months. Towards the end of his recovery he was forced to go under the knife yet again for the same knee, which kept him out of the sport for a year.
The 39-year old finally made his return in March of this year and prior to Roland Garros, the Swiss maestro played in the Qatar Open and Geneva Open where he visibly struggled, suffering early exits in both Opens. It was at the French Open where it looked like the tide was shifting as Federer played the first two rounds with the class we always expect him to bring to a Grand Slam, easing past both his opponents in straight sets. It was in the third where Roger found the going get tough. He was up against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer and while Federer did win the match three sets to one, he was made to work very hard for it. It was his longest match post-surgery and he only managed to break the German in the final set.
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Playing at the French Open, which houses probably the most gruelling surface of all, was always going to be a tough ask for Roger and a withdrawal only after the third round shows that his body is not yet ready to compete at the top level of the sport. It is also a case of protecting the body for the season on grass that lies ahead, as Roger perhaps sets himself up for a last hurrah.
Federer is still expected to compete at the NOVENTI Open and then Wimbledon and we all know Wimbledon is the one he really wants. In Roger Federer’s French Open Preview, we did look at the possibility of him using the French Open as an almost warm up for Wimbledon. His withdrawal only further cements the fact that he is not willing to risk anything before the grass court season.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner turns forty in a few months and after undergoing two knee surgeries a year ago, it begs the question- Can Roger Federer still win titles?
In few week’s time at Wimbledon we should have an answer, and we hope for the sake of the sport that he can still roll back the years and show us all why he is the one of the greatest players to play the game.
[Image Credit: Roger Federer]