For the first time in his career as a professional tennis player, Federer withdraws from a Grand Slam tournament.
Roger Federer announced through social media his retirement from the fourth round of Roland-Garros.
The statement reads: “After discussions with my team, I have decided I will need to pull out of the French Open today.
“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it is 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.See you very soon!”
The World No. 8 won three matches in the Parisian major event, spending seven hours and a half playing on the clay courts.
Tournament Director Guy Forget said: “The Roland-Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night. 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.”
Yesterday, in an on-court interview and after capturing a massive victory over German player Dominik Koepfer, he joked: “Thanks for not falling asleep, everybody.”
The night clash saw the 20-time Grand Slam champion giving a tennis masterclass, showcasing his profound passion for the sport and resilience, despite the unforced errors and missed serves.
He battled through three hours and 39 minutes, edging Koepfer in four hard-fought sets 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-5.
The night sessions in Paris took place without public due to the Covid-19 curfew in the city.
After the encounter, he commented: “My fighting spirit got me over the line. You have got to love what you do, and I do.”
At the press conference, he outlined: “I wasn’t sure after the second set how much was left in the tank, so it was a good battle until then.
“I feel like I needed to maybe pace myself ever so slightly at that moment, especially emotionally, of not pressing too hard and wanting it too badly.
Adding: “I clearly hadn’t practiced [to play] three hours because that’s obviously always pushing it. I pushed as much as I could, as we thought reasonable. But this today was a huge step forward for the team and for all of us.”
“I didn’t expect to be able to win three matches here,” he remarked.
Across his campaign, the 2009 Roland-Garros champion defeated Denis Istomin in straight sets 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 after one hour and 33 minutes.
Next, he overcame world No. 47 Marin Cilic, with a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 win in two hours and 35 minutes.
The 39-year-old made the first appearance in March 2021 at the Doha Open in Qatar, reaching the quarter-finals, after taking over a year apart from tennis as he underwent two knee surgeries.
Contesting his first official tennis match since then, he played the first round at the Geneva Open last May - which he lost in three sets to Spaniard Pablo Andujar.
The French Open marked his most recent and solid comeback, en route to reaching his ultimate goal, to play in Wimbledon in a couple of weeks.
Italian player Matteo Berrettini, scheduled to play the fourth-round match against Federer, gets a walkover into the quarter-finals stages of the tournament.
Now, he awaits the winner of the match between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and fellow countryman Lorenzo Musetti on Monday.