Roger Federer announced Sunday that he is withdrawing from the French Open. The former world No. 1 was coming off a tough four-set, three-and-a-half hour win over Dominik Koepfer in the third round.
“After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of the French Open today,” Federer said in a statement posted on social media. “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. See everyone soon!”
Federer on Saturday took on the German Koepfer in a night match on Court Philippe Chatrier. Roland-Garros’ largest stadium was mostly empty for the match, as a curfew enacted to help manage togoes into effect at 9 p.m. local time each night. Federer emerged victorious, but was forced to play three tie breakers before finally winning the fourth set 7-5 to end the match.
Matteo Berrettini, the Italian who would have taken on Federer in the round of 16, now heads to the quarterfinals to face either fellow Italian Lorenzo Musetti or world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Federer will now look ahead to Wimbledon, where he’s had the most personal success of all the Grand Slam tournaments. A title on the grass of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club would give the Swiss 21 major titles, which would either put him back in the all-time lead or tie him with Rafael Nadal, who is currently seeking his 14th French Open and 21st major title as well.
Federer has had the least success on the red clay of Roland-Garros, winning the tournament only once in 2009, the year Robin Söderling defeated Nadal in a shocking fourth round upset. It was the first time the Spaniard had ever lost at the French Open and, thus far, that loss accounts for 50% of his defeats there.
Djokovic trails both men with 18 Grand Slam titles of his own. He is the only man besides Söderling to have beaten Nadal at the French Open.
With a week still to go in the French Open, the tournament has seen the loss of three major stars in the first eight days of competition. Naomi Osakafrom Roland-Garros before her second round match after she was threatened with increasing fines, disqualification and suspension from future Grand Slams over her decision to not participate in media appearances during the tournament.
Serena Williams, meanwhile, was defeated in her fourth round match on Sunday, falling to Elena Rybakina in straight sets. With 23 major titles, Williams remains one Grand Slam title behind Margaret Court.