2009 champion Roger Federer has officially withdrawn from Roland Garros 2021, a day before he was to play Matteo Berrettini in the fourth round. The Swiss has cited the need to take care of his body as the reason for his withdrawal.
Federer's decision is not a surprise, given that he had hinted about it after his win over Dominik Koepfer on Saturday. The 39-year-old had claimed in his post-match presser that he hadn't expected to win three matches in Paris.
Matteo Berrettini has now received a walkover into the quarterfinals, where he will face either Novak Djokovic or Lorenzo Musetti.
In the official statement published by Roland Garros, Roger Federer stressed the need to take things slowly given how much his knee has endured over the last year. The 39-year-old further mentioned he was "thrilled" to have been able to play three matches in Paris.
"After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of the French Open today," Federer said in the 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 on my road to recovery. I am thrilled to have gotten 3 matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court."
Guy Forget, the tournament director of Roland Garros, expressed regret at Roger Federer's withdrawal but in the same breath acknowledged they were "delighted" to see the Swiss back in action in Paris.
"The Roland-Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night," Forget said. "We were all delighted to see Roger back in Paris, where he played three high-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season."
Roger Federer registered victories over Denis Istomin, Marin Cilic and Dominik Koepfer in what was his first Grand Slam in more than a year. Federer's win over Koepfer was the most impressive of the lot, given how he looked set for defeat while trailing 2-4 in the third set.
What's next for Roger Federer?
Roger Federer will take a few days' rest before heading to Halle, where the Noventi Open is scheduled for a 14 June start. Federer, a 10-time champion in Halle, will look to use the event to fine-tune his game for Wimbledon.
The Championships are scheduled to begin on 28 June, meaning that Federer is unlikely to participate in any further events unless he loses early in Halle. In case that does happen, the World No. 8 could opt for a wildcard into Mallorca or Eastbourne.
Roger Federer has often stressed that his real season starts with the grass events. As such, with match practice under his belt and no fitness issues, the Swiss would be hoping to do well on his favorite surface.
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