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Fed French Open Withdrawal

Federer Says FO to French Open

Hey all, news has just broken that Roger will be skipping this year's French Open. He made the announcement on his website and you can read the post below:

Regrettably, I've decided not to participate in the French Open. I've been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it's best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons. The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward. Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season. I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year.

Roger

Up until a few days ago, I was fairly sure he'd give Paris a go based on some of the noises he'd made earlier this year in various interviews but after seeing him post a video practising on hard courts in Dubai it did look doubtful. He hasn't given any specific reasons as to why he's skipping it other than to focus on the grass / hard court tournaments later in the year but you have to imagine the knee doesn't feel perfect on the dirt. I read a quote earlier this year (which I can't find now for some reason) from his fitness coach who said that clay isn't great for the knee and it felt funny last year when he played on it. So it looks like there's still some doubt there and his team have decided it's not worth the risk.

My thoughts? Well from a fan point of view it would have certainly have made the French Open more watchable so I'm disappointed with that side of things. But other than that you have to think it's the right decision as it won't have been taken lightly (like ending his season after Wimbledon last year) so what can you say other than fair does, see you in Stuttgart 🙂

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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97 comments

  1. There goes my hope to see him live again… 🙁

    • Alex, did you have tickets? Hope not, maybe next year?

    • Ah not great. Selling or still going to go? At least it’s close for you so you don’t have to spend a lot of time travelling there.

      • Emerson Gonzalez

        A friend of mine will travel to the FO with his mom (from Guatemala), they will cry over this news (they were hoping to catch Roger more than anyone else).

        As for the decision to skip the FO, i think he knows what’s best for his body and just hope that grass court starts asap.

        #GoRoger
        #GOAT

      • Still going I think… I live like 20 min away from RG so will enjoy as much tennis as I can 😉

  2. Sucharita Sarkar

    Was very disappointed and deflated at first….but then, I guess, he knows best what’s best for him. Only thing is, I’ve been daydreaming about Fed stopping a rampaging Rafa and winning the FO…. Anyway, hope to see Fed continue his superb form in the grass/hard court stretch this year.

    P.S.: Cheeky post title, Jonathan!

  3. Disappointing, but ultimately the right call. Transitioning from hard to clay to grass is a lot harder than from hard to grass, for one, and obviously clay is more taxing on the body. He had a slim at best shot for Roland Garros really in terms of winning the whole thing, so I think the tradeoff just wasn’t worth it for Fed. Ah well.

  4. i want to see how new roger can fight rafa in clay but it not gonna happen but if it make him can play wimbledon and us i still ok

  5. Ah tennis is getting more than a touch boring! But never mind, life is other, and rather this than our hero risks anything threatening his ever-green court presence. The grass season SHOULD be much longerer!
    (But didn’t we wonder his one-shot clay-plan anyway? A little late to skip it? A little worry arises?)

    • Well, by the time he didn’t turn up for Rome I *was* starting to wonder whether there was any point in playing just the one tourney. But given the form (virtually) everyone else seems to be in, I’m not looking forward to RG – at least, not for the men’s.

    • They always said they would decide around May 10th, so never set in stone other than him saying he planned to. I thought he would play.

  6. So disappointed, tennis has been pretty boring lately, but probably the right call by Roger. On the up-side, I won’t be glued to the tv and my lawn and garden will get the (long needed) attention they deserve.

    Also agree with Sucharita Sakar, cheeky post Jonathan, thought there was a typo for a minute lol

    • Of course, it is understandable. Given his age, he would want to concentrate on preparing for grass since he has no a chance to win the French Open when Mr. Nadal is on fire.

    • Yeah I will be checking scores but won’t be going out of my way to watch on TV like normal.

  7. I’m very glad.

    If he doesn’t think it’s wise… Well, who knows better than him?

    I would never want to possibly risk losing to /Stan/Novak/Rafa and hurting/weakening the knee for what could be a lot more fun for the rest of the year.

    HOORAY.

    Seriously.

  8. Sid TheCookieThief

    I had a really good laugh. FO to French Open. 🙂

  9. Sid TheCookieThief

    [Clay isn’t great for the knee]

    Wait…I’ve been told by many that hard courts were harsher to the knees than clay. Is that because of the sliding on clay?

    • I think in general it is, but Fed or his trainer said it didn’t feel great on clay last year. Maybe it’s a bit more unstable under foot. So better for Nadal as less bending to reach the ball and less shocks from the surface. But worse for Fed with sliding and being looser under foot…

  10. What a fantastic decision. It doesn’t make sense to announce you’re playing back to back grass tournies straight after a major at 35.5 years of age. If he did play the French, he would have to tank at the 4th rd or QFs to have enough adequate rest for Stuttgart and Halle.

    Now however it does place more pressure on him to win Wimbledon as he would have more prep than anyone else on the tour. Anything less than reaching the final would be a big fail. Don’t let us down Rog!

  11. I shall miss him, its going to be 2 months before he walks on court. FO will be boring yet again but its a good decision. No point grinding 2-3 hrs on clay, he is no longer 25. Best go on full assault during 2nd half of the season. Btw Jon loved your title FO to French Open 🙂

    • Yeah the blog will be quiet until Stuttgart I think…

      Oh well it’s saved my £100 as I’ve not renewed TennisTV since it expired. Zero motivation to either.

  12. Yes cheeky title and everyone one bar Rafans are wishing it was FO Rafa!

    Wise decision by Fed but of course he will be missed just hope a few others return to form in Rome and offer some competition to the King of bore there & at RG otherwise RG La Decima is a given.
    Who do we support Stan? Maybe Kei is going to reward Chang finally or Sir Muzz try to balance out his trophy cabinet…Thiem, Dimitrov, Cuevas I live in hope we get a new champ.

    • Murray has no form to speak of so can’t see him threatening. Will struggle if he plays a solid clay courter I think.

      I think Dimitrov does win a slam but keeps taking 2 steps forward 1 step back post Aussie Open so dunno if it’s RG.

  13. ouuchhh.. So Im gonna wait again for more than 2 mons???? 🙁 so sad… want him to see him play in french open…. 🙁 Though it’s the right call….

    hmmm.. I’ve became selfish this year….

  14. The right decision. Nothing to be gained and he protects a 36 year old body. Clay has become a ghastly surface for tennis, hence the unrelenting success of its leading exponent, with all his tics, code violations, mysterious injuries and miraculous recoveries, and lack of commensurate success on any other surface that exposes his limitations as a player. Let Roger take care of him at Wimbledon (if a nobody named Darcis, Rosol or Brown doesn’t.)

    • Top comment Richard & all so very true.

    • So you are more anti-Nadal than anti-clay itself 🙂

      It’s the worst surface to watch on, especially on TV that’s for sure. But it’s all part of the mix, just needs a Grass M1000 to balance it out.

      • I can just tolerate clay when Roger plays. But when Nadal plays he shows it is no canvas for an artist. And Roger is an artist. Nadal is a night club bouncer to Roger’s dancer.

  15. So, Roger and Rafa have decided to split the kingdom between them… Let’s see if Rafa keeps his part of the bargain. And if the small popes Andy and Djoker stay put in the Vatican.

  16. Yes, cheeky title indeed. I recall Fed talking about his knee not feeling right on clay. Perhaps an interview in Switzerland end of summer?
    Anyway, I instantly start thinking his knee or something else has been injured or the knee is acting up again. I’m such a worry wort. Why is he pulling out so late in the game? Hard to say no to a slam?
    Looking like 10 for the Spaniard.

    Maybe we can start a betting pool on who will be Djoker’s new coach?

    • I read this in one of the articles-
      Lüthi called the decision to withdraw “a very tough one” and said it was settled on Monday after “a few days” of training on red clay in Switzerland.

      “We always said we were going to take the decision around the 10th of May,” Lüthi said. “We just wanted to have all the information and also wait a little to see how practice went and how he feels.”

      Lüthi said Federer was healthy. Federer had expressed concern about how his postoperative left knee might respond to returning to clay-court tennis, but Lüthi said the knee was not a factor in Federer’s withdrawal from the French Open.

      “You never know,” Lüthi said. “You don’t have the guarantee that you are not getting hurt, but really the knee is in perfect shape, so that luckily was not an issue.”

    • Mark my words Sue. Rafa to go down early at the French Open.

    • Cheers for sharing Pranshul, just read the NYT article. I guess he doesn’t want to chance it. If he plays a quick three setter where he’s ripping winners then probably no issues, but if he gets into a grind fest match where he’s defending a lot maybe then it becomes more of a concern.

  17. He doesn’t skip a Grand Slam lightly, so I suspect he really does want to make sure his body is fully recovered from the rigors of his spring season. It does mean Paris will be much more boring this year, though.

    But whatever he needs to to preserve his body, he should do. He’d have needed at least some clay-court practice to play RG, and I guess he didn’t feel that he could physically handle it, and then suddenly transition to grass courts after just one tournament. In the future, I expect he’ll probably play at least one clay Masters tournament to warm up if he chooses to play RG.

    Hope he sweeps the grass season this year. Every time he’s ended the year as #1, he’s won Wimbledon so if he has hopes of regaining the top spot (and it’s not an unrealistic hope), victory at the All-England Club will be key. C’mon Roger!

  18. I’m putting my vote for this being Jonathan’s best title hands down. Any one else in favour?

  19. For the first time since being an ardent fan these 16 years I think it’s a mistake and shows lack of belief and funnily enough I think it will detract from his Wimbledon chances. There was actually a real possibility he could have won the FO and think he has been unecessarily hesitant.Dont think it has anything to do with his knee. Feel very negative about this decision.Doesn’t feel right.

    • Who knows if it’s a mistake, he could have played last years US Open or come back in the winter but chose not to make sure he could actually keep playing so looks like that decision.

      He had a chance at the French. But very slim based on recent years and what it takes to win there.
      But if we look at Henman – he made the semi finals playing to his strengths that supposedly weren’t ideal for clay. Similarly Pat Rafter – made the semi finals serving and volleying. So could Fed, with how he’s setting up to play right now, win 2 more matches than those guys? He’s significantly better than them so maybe but unlikely.

      • Forget Henman. You can’t win the French now without EPO’s.

      • Thanks for your considered response. Time will tell and I can fully understand his decision and your thougts and based on last year’s evidence it would be right but I still have the feeling that the issues with clay aside, this has been based on him not quite believing on the opportunity that the change in his game has brought and this time may not have hampered his later chances in the way he thinks. But his decision and just have to accept that now. Big dissapointment.

      • I disagree Lesley. I don’t think it has anything to do with him not believing. It’s about scheduling, not worth the risk for the rest of the season and his career, and also the difficult transition from clay to grass IMO

  20. On one hand: dang.
    On the other hand: bah.
    Sunday afternoon I was watching Isner vs. Vinolas in Rome and fell asleep. I did, honestly.
    Let clay sniffers sniff clay. I’ll pass on that.

  21. FrenchButteRFLy

    Hello all, the suspense was terrible but now I know that I won’t see our champion at the French Open at the end of May. To make the news more acceptable, I wrote this new acrostic (Missing you to be read vertically).

    I hope you will enjoy it.

    NO… Matter what people write or say,

    Important thing is The Best you stay.

    Stuttgart will occur soon, greeting you as the tennis patroon.

    Seattle was your last show, a funny one to wave “Hello !”

    “I know that we will survive”, while others on clay will strive.

    Next-Gen’s and elder ploughmen, will enjoy the French Open.

    Gee ! While you won’t play, on the ochred Parisian clay…

    …You will prepare at your best the Wimby challenge and the rest,

    On the lawn of your eighth dream, the tourney for which your eyes gleam.

    Until you come back to grass, keep those eyes on your compass, not throwing us in disarray, we’ll marvel at the AO replay.

    FrenchButteRFly

    PS : I don’t know if your know it, but the French XIXth century poet Lamartine wrote a phrase which is often used in the French language in such a situation : “un seul être vous manque et tout est dépeuplé”. Here is the full poem in which the phrase is : https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Isolement

    Until the grass season starts, we will have some time to read poetry, won’t we ?

  22. I have always wondered how tennis pros peak for big tournaments. Maybe he’s just trying to maximize his chances for another one or two slams. 20 would be a nice round number.

  23. Well, that’s a bummer. Made total sense to skip the clay season, but you don’t skip a GS unless you’re not 100% fit. I’m sure it’s the right thing to do otherwise he wouldn’t do it. Just hope he’s being cautious and that the grass season is not at risk.

    I’m sure a lot of us were curious how he would do on clay with his improved backhand, so it’s pretty disappointing we won’t find out. Results on clay have been pretty lacklustre for years though, so it would probably take more than that to have a real chance.

    Looks like the table is set for Nadal now. Djokovic probably the only one who could stop him, but he seems to have lost his spark. Maybe someone else will take it, you never know, but it doesn’t seem likely. Anyone here cares who wins it?

  24. Just saw the new trial for the “next gen” rules…
    Now, you have probably never seen me swear…

    Well f*** these rules! Why change tennis rules for something artificial?
    Tennis rules are good as they are, they don’t need to be changed only to bring new TV viewers.
    Total BS!

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/rule-changes-innovation-for-next-gen-atp-finals-2017

  25. OMG you did use it as the title …..you thief….😂😂

    Tho I said “Federer says FO to FO”

  26. Disappointed, I really thought he’d play. Of course I thought he’d take a wc for Rome too. On the other hand I do really like the ‘many years to come’ part of his announcement, and if that’s the tradeoff, that’s the tradeoff. Agree that his chances looked better than they have in a while of going reasonably deep – and all added points too – but I wouldn’t really want him to be playing if he was going to be second-guessing himself.

    • Federer was never going to play on clay this season. That’s why he went all out to win the AO//IW and Miami Open so he can skip the clay season. All the signs were there. Also thinking Federer wasn’t skip the French because it’s a slam was a bad assumption. So the disappointment by Fed fans is puzzling. Fans have the nasty habit of thinking our plans are our favs plans.

      • Well Karen, he actually told he was going to play FO, he was on the list as well, and then informed he nevertheless skipped it on a very late point of time. And . So I actually don’t understand from where you have the information that Federer NEVER was going to play on clay this season. And really, to get puzzled from fans’ disappointment? Is there a little disapproval of this hid here? Stupid fans?

      • Muser, Karen can read Fed’s mind. She also writes with an angry tone. Just the usual.

      • You guys are laughable. Federer was never playing the FO and he never confirmed it with any conviction. But…But….He said he was playing. No. Not really. I am a Fed fan but I am not clueless. You don’t to have read Federer’s mind. Actions speak louder than words. Why were you disappointed when Federer hadn’t played on clay all season with no clay tournaments scheduled? It was wishful thinking believing Federer was playing the FO.

      • Well Karen, actually he confirmed his partaking more than once. The laughable part is on you as well I think. But never mind – laugh is healthy! Better than sending sour spirit.

    • Federer didn’t confirm $hit. Sour spirit. LOL. Delusional much?

  27. Of course disappointed not to see him longer but the post made me feel great, especially the title 😆
    Fed wisdom, f*** yeah. Keep us entertained until the grass, will ya, Jonathan?

  28. Sid TheCookieThief

    Is this the beginning of the destruction of tennis as we know it? Granted it’s a trial. But it won’t be too long before the sanctity of this sport will be under threat. Please, no!!!

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/rule-changes-innovation-for-next-gen-atp-finals-2017

    • I don’t like this at all. Having the fans come and go as they please? No ad, etc. Bad, bad, bad.

    • Sid, you are exactly reading my thoughts!!!

    • Well it won’t be easy to make through. I foresee a lot of protesting, and the tours making it still, will be considered as second class!

    • Is it one called something like ‘Fast4’ which Hewitt and Fed tried in AO as an exhibition a couple of year’s back?

    • It’s going after the TV-Sport-Entertainment-Mania where the hard and pure competition takes second seat behind the need to entertain the masses with folklore. Have you noticed how many people on the court seats already spend most of their time staring at their small electronic rectangles / taking selfies / posing to the photographers / making sure they’re noticed? Sign of the times.

    • Thanks for fun, Sue!

    • Hi Sue, Yes, the quiz was fun, thank you for posting it….but, I have to shamefully admit that I failed the test on Roger’s arm….will not make excuses other than my eyesight is failing me more and more!
      Congrats to Thiem for defeating Nadal! Long wait for us see Roger in action.

      • Dolores, something to do to pass the time while awaiting Roger’s return. The racket and the Popeye forearm are the give-a-ways.

        Thiem has a good game and a head on his shoulders. I’m sure he will be near the top in the future. Hope he takes out Djokovic today.

  29. Thiem shows how it’s done. Phenomenal hitting. Great to see one of the young guns break through like that. He and Fed would have a great match now.

    • Thiem got exposed by Djokovic again. 6-0 6-1 or he got caught celebrating his victory over Nadal too much.

      • Karen, Thiem might just be tired. I suspect you like to be unduly negative.

      • Hate to say it, but Djokovic was phenomenal. I just hope it doesn’t mean he’s on fire again for the next, say, years… Will be very interesting to see a match against Roger…

      • It doesn’t matter. Fed fans shouldn’t be counting on Djokovic to continue to play poorly. When Federer plays Djokovic, he should expect to have to play his best. It looks like this isn’t the only forum or blog making excuses for Thiem’s after his loss to Djokovic. Big things are expected out of Thiem so he’s being given a pass. But he overplays. He’s made the top ten. He needs to cut back his schedule to be able to preform at tougher tournaments that carry more weight like 1000s and GS.

    • Didn’t Djokovic have play two matches because of rain? If I say something “negative” about a player that is not liked, will that be okay? Also wasn’t Thiem dusted up pretty good by Djokovic in the FO semis? Ballbashing is exhausting. LOL! Don’t be upset about what I said concerning Federer and the FO. Deep down you know I was telling the truth.

      • Karen haha – so you know our “deep downs knowing that you are right!? hahahahaha

      • Federer had knee surgery and returns on clay then says his knee doesn’t feel right on clay. He falls at Wimbledon against Raonic then misses the rest of season. The next season doesn’t schedule any clay tournaments. Federer is trying to extend his career by not playing on clay. A real Federer fan would not be disappointed by his decision and understand.

      • Of course we understand and respect Roger’s decision, but as true fans feel disappointed as well, and lose interest for FO. BUT knowing hid decision might be for keeping him longer on court, and this is encouraging.

      • It’s okay. Sit back and watch the FO. Fed will be back on grass. I am watching the Gevena tournament. Switzerland is a very scenic country.

      • Geneva looks a very cool setting. Very scenic. Have you got a Passport or like most Yankees never leave?

  30. King Federer looking dapper in tailcoat at Pippa Middleton’s wedding, both him and Mirka are such a sweet loving couple.

  31. Djokovic loses his mojo again. Hard to fathom.

    • Yeah, it shows again that tennis is much about match ups. 🙂

    • Djerk-o-tronic is playing hot and cold. Against Dominic is was all groaning and fist pumping. I suspect those antics consumed all his energy resources. Acting is tough, people!

  32. What a match for Zverev! He def deserved it!

  33. Thanks Karen, but nope. There’s more to life than such.

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