Federer out for season - but refusing to walk away
Published 27/07/2016 | 02:30
Roger Federer has pulled out of the Rio Olympics and will miss the rest of the season, including the US Open, because he needs "more extensive rehabilitation" to prolong his career after knee surgery earlier this year.
Last month he described how "one stupid move" sparked a chain of bad luck - which resulted in left knee surgery in February and sitting out the French Open with a back injury - culminating in yesterday's decision to end his wretched season.
"I'm extremely disappointed to announce that I will not be able to represent Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Rio and that I will also miss the remainder of the season," the 17-times grand slam champion said.
"Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year.
"The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury-free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover. It is tough to miss the rest of the year."
For much of his career, the former world No 1 had been blessed with a body that seemed bullet-proof against the aches, pains and injuries suffered by most top athletes.
But one false move by the man known for his gliding footwork, while running a bath for his twin daughters following his Australian Open semi-final loss, means he would have gone a whole season without a title for the first time since 2000.
Now 34, this announcement realistically ended the 2012 silver medallist's hopes of ever winning an Olympic singles title.
"The silver lining is that this experience has made me realise how lucky I have been throughout my career with very few injuries," said Federer, who won an Olympic doubles gold with Stan Wawrinka in 2008.
"The love I have for tennis, the competition, tournaments and. . . the fans remains intact.
"I am as motivated as ever and plan to put all my energy towards coming back strong, healthy and in shape to play attacking tennis in 2017."
Until May, Federer had appeared in 65 successive grand slam tournaments going back to the 1999 US Open.
However, he was clearly rattled when he landed heavily on his left knee after rolling his ankle during the fifth set of his semi-final defeat by Milos Raonic at Wimbledon.
Although Federer, who was left sprawled face down on the turf following the fall, got up to complete the match, he was worried about the long-term effects on his knee and his worst fears have now been realised.