The French Open will progress without two big names after Roger Federer withdrew and Serena Williams was defeated in the fourth round.
“After discussions with my team, I decided that I should withdraw from the French Open today,” Federer said in a statement released by the French Tennis Federation late Sunday night.
“After two knee operations and more than a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and not rush back into competition.”
Federer, who has hardly played in the last 17 months because of a knee injury, suffered physically in his four-set, late-night victory over German Dominik Koepfer at the weekend.
He decided to end his Roland Garros campaign ahead of what would have been a punishing fourth-round match against Italian Matteo Berrettini.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) June 6, 2021
He had said after Saturday’s match that he was pondering whether to participate in the second week of the clay-court major as his season goal was Wimbledon, starting on June 28.
“We go through these matches … we analyse them highly and look on what’s next and we’ll do the same tonight and tomorrow,” Federer said.
“Because I need to decide if I keep on playing or not, or is it not too much risk at this moment to keep pushing or is this just a perfect way to just take a rest.”
The Swiss star, who turns 40 in August, is targeting a record 21st grand slam title at Wimbledon later this month.
Both Federer and Williams now have time to get in some match practise ahead of Wimbledon.
Williams is unlikely to enter a grass-court patch in the lead up and will spend time with her family, potentially at home in the US, before joining the bubble ahead of Wimbledon.
Her quest for a 24th grand slam singles title goes on after she was defeated in Paris by Elena Rybakina.
Having come into the tournament with low expectations, Williams had looked solid through her first three matches, and with big names falling by the wayside she surged up the list of title favourites.
She went into the match against Rybakina as the only top-20 player left in the bottom half but fell to a 6-3 7-5 defeat.
Still, the 39-year-old champion believes she leaves Roland Garros in a better position than when she arrived.
“I’m in a much better place than when I got here,” said Williams, who had won just one match on clay in the lead up.
“(I was) just literally trying to win a match, because it had been a really difficult season for me on the clay.”
“I’m so close. There is literally a point here, a point there, that could change the whole course of the match. I’m not winning those points.”