PARIS/WASHINGTON, June 6, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer announced he has withdrawn from the French Open. The Roland-Garros tournament organizers learned of Federer’s decision Sunday afternoon. Both the tournament and Federer used their social media platforms to make the announcement.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) June 6, 2021
“After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of Roland-Garros 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 3 matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court,” Federer wrote.
“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,” said Guy Forget, French Open tournament director, in a statement.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 6, 2021
After Federer completed his remarkable three-hour and 36-minute 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 victory over Germany’s Dominik Koepfer to reach the round of 16 at Roland-Garros at 12:43 a.m. Sunday morning, the Swiss future Hall of Famer raised his arms in victory. Yet, the look on his tired face suggested a sense of relief, too.
Federer, who was seeded eighth at this year’s tournament, was playing at Roland-Garros for the first time since 2019 and this was just his second French Open since 2015. He scored earlier wins in the week against Denis Istomin and Marin Cilic.
During his 2 a.m. press conference following his victory over Koepfer, Federer hinted that his continuation in the tournament would depend how his body responded. The Swiss superstar was due to play No. 9 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the fourth round Monday. Instead, Berrettini will get a walkover win into the quarterfinal round.
“For me to go out tonight, sure, it wasn’t easy,” Federer admitted in his press conference. “It was a lot of premieres for me: Playing against [Koepfer] for first night session here in Paris, first time no fans in a long time, or ever in my career. That was definitely very unique in many ways, and I’m happy I found a way.”
During NBC’s broadcast of the French Open today in the United States, Hall of Famer John McEnroe commented, “The bottom line is it’s indeed a bummer,” he said. “We all know that Roger Federer, with all he’s done for our sport – and with all he’s gone through with the surgeries – has a right to do what he thinks is best.”