Despite winning his third round match against Dominik Koepfer, Roger Federer has decided to withdraw from the French Open in a bid to protect his body for the grass court season. The contest was played during the night session in front of empty stands at Roland Garros and was particularly gruelling for the 20-time Grand Slam champion. Federer looked uncomfortable during most of the match but managed to win the long encounter 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 which finally finished at 00:43 local time.
The Swiss great has required two knee surgeries and over twelve months of rehabilitation leading into the Grand Slam and felt that withdrawing from the Paris tournament would benefit his preparations for the grass court season – particularly the Wimbledon Championships due to begin later this month. It is no secret that grass is Federer’s favourite surface with his only victory on the clay at Roland Garros coming back in 2009.
Meanwhile in the woman’s tournament, Serena Williams was knocked out in straight sets by youngster Elena Rybakina in the fourth round and tennis fans would be forgiven if they questioned whether this would be her final appearance at the French Open. Williams was aiming to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles but at the age of 39 she has not won a major tournament since 2017. She will also be targeting the Wimbledon Championships where she has won the woman’s single title an incredible 11 times.