Roland Garros tournament director Guy Forget has expressed his support for Roger Federer following the Swiss' controversial decision to withdraw from the claycourt Grand Slam in Paris.
Roger Federer announced his withdrawal from the French Open on Sunday, saying he needed to protect his body ahead of the grasscourt season. The 39-year-old's decision drew the ire of many in the tennis community who claimed Federer disrespected the tournament by treating it as a warm-up event.
Novak Djokovic, Mats Wilander and Chris Evert were among the most prominent names to back Federer's decision, with Guy Forget echoing their sentiment in a recent interview.
The Frenchman said Roland Garros had no plans to dock Federer some of his prize money and added that the Swiss did not deserve any of the criticism being leveled at him on social media.
"Not at all," Forget said when asked if the tournament planned to take away some of Roger Federer's prize money. "I saw, without looking for them, the comments following the announcement of his withdrawal.
"On social media, you hear anything and everything. You see people who are totally, disproportionately vile towards Roger and others who completely understand. He retired, which he had never done in a Grand Slam before."
Forget said it was unfair for Roger Federer to receive such intense criticism as he genuinely had injury concerns ahead of his fourth-round match against Matteo Berrettini.
The Frenchman revealed Federer signed a document in front of the match referee in which he cited his knee injury as the reason for his withdrawal.
"To put him on trial for lack of respect is unfair, I am convinced that it is not that," added Guy Forget. "Yesterday (Sunday), he went to the doping control, which is compulsory when you retire, he went to the medical service, he saw the referee, he signed a document, where it is indicated that his knee is the reason for his forfeit . The reality is that Roger was not fit to play."
Roger Federer had no choice but to withdraw: Guy Forget
Guy Forget highlighted Roger Federer's age and battle with injuries to explain why the Swiss took the right call to pull out of Roland Garros. The Frenchman suggested that the claycourt Major came a little too soon for the 2009 champion.
"We are talking about a champion who is 40 years old, who has undergone two difficult knee operations, who is engaged in a race against time to return to his best level," explained Forget. "Roland Garros for him was a way to rebuild his game. He had no choice (but to withdraw)."
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