World champion Roger Federer announced, on Sunday, his withdrawal from the 2021 French Open before the fourth-round match in Paris. Federer was about to face ninth seed Matteo Berrettini in a semi-final match after winning the first three rounds of the Grand Slam on clay.
Roger Federer underwent two knee surgeries last year that kept him out for most of the tour. The 39-year-old played the Australian Open last year and only returned to the Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
Federer opened his career by defeating Denis Istomin. He beat former US Open champion Marin Cilic in four sets in his second-round match and put up a heroic effort against German Dominic Kupfer in front of the empty stands at Philippe Chatrier in a late-night match on Saturday. The 27-year-old German pressured him hard, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion kept his composure to win the match in 4 sets.
Federer did not participate in the French Open last year. He had reached the semi-finals in 2019, which was also his first major appearance on clay in 4 years.
"After discussion with my team, I have decided to withdraw from the French Open today," Federer said on a social media site on Sunday.
"After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehab, it's important that I listen to my body and make sure I don't stress myself on my way to recovery.
"I'm excited to have 3 matches under my belt. There is no better feeling than to be back on the pitch. See you all soon."
Federer admitted on Saturday that he was not sure if he would be on the field on Monday for the fourth-round match. Federer said he would receive a call after an argument with his team.
"We are going through these matches ... we analyze them well and look at what follows and we will do the same tonight and tomorrow," he said.
"Because I have to decide whether or not to keep playing, or it's not at the moment risky to keep pushing or it's just a perfect way to just relax."
Federer had returned to competitive play in March in Qatar, where he was ousted in the quarter-finals. He began his preparations for the French Open at the Geneva Open last month but struggled with a first-round exit against Spaniard Pablo Andujar.
Meanwhile, French Open director Guy Forget wished Federer luck for the rest of the season.
"We were all happy to see him again in Paris, where he played three first-class matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season." Forget what was said.
Federer is expected to play two grasscourt tournaments ahead of Wimbledon 2021, which he scored earlier in the season. The 39-year-old is also likely to represent Switzerland at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.
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