Roger Federer pulled out of next month’s Rogers Cup hard-court tournament on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Tennis Canada, Valerie Tetreault, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that Federer “wants to make sure he will be (in) top shape for” the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam tournament, which begins Aug. 31.
“I am disappointed that I won’t be playing in Montreal, because it’s a tournament and a city that I really enjoy and has incredible fans,” Federer said in a statement released by Tennis Canada. “I hope to be back in the future.”
Federer, owner of a record 17 major championships, has not competed since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final on July 12.
Federer, who turns 34 on Aug. 8, won the Rogers Cup twice, in 2004 and 2006, and he was the runner-up a year ago.
“We are obviously disappointed to have Roger withdraw as it is always a privilege to watch him play,” tournament director Eugene Lapierre said in a statement. “We also understand his decision because, above all, he has always been very loyal to our event, and we would love to see him play tennis for many more years to come.”
Play begins Aug. 10 in Montreal. Federer will be replaced in the main draw by World no. 51 Jerzy Janowicz, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2013.
Impact of not playing the Rogers Cup (ATP 1000 Masters)
With the withdrawal, Federer will be dropping 600 points from his total ranking points. He was the runner-up at the Rogers Cup in Toronto last year losing to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final. Tsonga defeated all three members of the Big Four that were in the tournament (Rafael Nadal withdrew due to a wrist injury) defeating Novak Djokovic with ease while Andy Murray and Federer gave him a battle. Ultimately, only the Brit was able to capture a set off of him.
With Murray set to play at the Citi Open, a strong showing there and both Masters (Cincinnati being the other), will vault him past Federer for world number two. The Swiss is only defending his Western and Southern Open title before he heads to Flushing Meadows while Murray is only defending quarterfinal points in both Masters events.
Federer’s American and Asian hard court swing
After it was found out that the 17-time Grand Slam champion would not be playing in Montreal, the rest of his 2015 playing schedule was released. After both Cincinnati and the US Open, he will be playing in the Davis Cup playoff against the Netherlands. Both Stan Wawrinka and himself will be returning for that tie.
After that, he will take a month off from match play before playing one tournament on the Asian swing which will be the Shanghai Rolex Masters. He is the defending champion at Shanghai defeating Gilles Simon in two tiebreakers in the final and defeated Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
The European Indoor Swing
He will head home to Switzerland to kick-off his indoor hard court season at the Swiss Indoors Basel. He is also the defending champion there, defeating Belgian David Goffin in the final.
The next week he heads to Paris-Bercy for the BNP Paribas Masters. This is the last tournament before the ATP World Tour Finals held in the O2 Arena in London. Federer lost in the quarterfinals in Paris-Bercy last year to Milos Raonic.
Finally for Federer, it is a week off before the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Last year, he had a rather impressive display going undefeated in round robin play (Raonic, Kei Nishikori, and Murray were grouped with him) with the highlight being an absolute destruction of Andy Murray by a scoreline of 6-0, 6-1 (some say he let Murray win a game out of respect but that’s a different story for a different time). He beat countryman Stan Wawrinka in a three-set thriller in the semifinal before withdrawing in the final due to a back injury giving Novak Djokovic a third consecutive World Tour Finals victory. But these strong performances at the O2 setup his first Davis Cup winners’ medal (with Swiss winning the title for the 1st time).
Federer still has the capability of winning Grand Slam titles. It’s been evident since his coaching switch from Paul Annacone to Stefan Edberg, that even at 33 (almost 34), he’s still at top of his game. However, the withdrawal of the Rogers Cup is an interesting one. With Nadal not having played any of the American hard court tournaments last year due to injury and Murray having subpar showings, those two have the most to gain here as a ranking increase will see their confidence increase.
If Murray does indeed pass Federer for world number two, Federer will be in danger of potentially clashing with Nadal and Djokovic to get to the US Open final. Given his track record against Nadal and recent Grand Slam track record against the world number one, that task may be a bit too arduous for the Swiss maestro.
Roger Federer’s final schedule for rest of the season: