Roger Federer withdraws from French Open on Sunday, saying he didn’t want to push himself on the road to recovery.
The 39-year-old, playing only his third tournament in 16 months, the first 12 of those were spent convalescing from knee surgeries. In the early hours of Sunday, Federer scored a fighting 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 win over Germany’s Dominik Koepfer in the third round.
The match may have taken more out of the eighth seed than he bargained for.
Federer, who exited Court Philippe Chatrier close to 1am following the three-hour, 35-minute encounter, first raised doubts of his further participation in the tournament during his post-match media interaction.
“After discussions with my team, I decided I will need to pull out of Roland Garros today,” Federer said in a statement. “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.”
There’s nothing quite like it ❤️ pic.twitter.com/A5SCKFptrs— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) June 6, 2021
Federer noted that the matches on clay were important for him. “I hadn’t practiced for three hours 35, because that’s obviously always pushing it. I pushed as much as I could, as we thought reasonable. But today was a huge step forward for all of us,” he said, following his third-round win. “I didn’t expect to be able to win three matches here. Back up a good performance against (Marin) Cilic in completely different circumstances.”