Roger Federer has withdrawn from the ATP 1000 Madrid tournament to be with his pregnant wife. He may also miss the upcoming ATP 1000 event in Rome. The news comes as a blow to fans and tournament organizers who have already seen some of the sport’s biggest names drop out of the prestigious event.
Federer had been included in the draw and was meant to compete against Gilles Simon in the second round. The Frenchman however was the recipient of another stroke of luck after his previous opponent Benoit Paire withdrew with an injury. Fans will be disappointed at the Federer-Simon clash not going ahead. The two have a competitive head-to-head with Federer leading 4-2. Their last meeting at last season’s Roland Garros was a classic with Federer coming back to win from two sets to one down.
Federer apologized to his fans for his absence. He wrote on his Facebook page that he had withdrawn from the event to spend “these next few exciting weeks for our family” with his wife Mirka. That excitement is shared by Federer, his wife Mirka and their twin four-year-old daughters.
Federer also apologized to his fans for missing the event and said he would be training near his home and would return to the tour soon. How soon though is up for speculation with Federer having already stated he might miss the French Open for the birth of his third child.
Federer will be missed in Madrid. The Swiss star is a two-time champion at the Clay event, winning his first title at the inaugural event in 2009, beating Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the final, and holding the trophy at the controversial 2012 event when the tournament was played on blue Clay. The tournament surface, whatever the color, suits the Swiss’ attacking game. The high altitude makes the ball travel faster through the air and bounce lower, making it the perfect surface for fans to appreciate Federer’s all-court game.
Federer’s absence leaves another huge hole in the draw after the withdrawals of Novak Djokovic and Richard Gasquet. The tournament was shaping up to be a much-anticipated one with the fight for the ATP no.1 ranking between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The fine play of Stanislas Wawrinka and Federer in the recent Monte-Carlo final also had fan’s hopes raised of some exciting contests between the game’s stars.
Federer’s withdrawl may also be seen as a missed opportunity for the current world no.3. The Swiss only had to defend last sixteen ranking points after going out last year to Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Considering Nadal’s poor form and the uncertainty surrounding Djokovic’s wrist injury, Madrid could have been a good opportunity for the Swiss to keep making grounds on the ATP rankings himself. Federer has risen this year from no.8 in the rankings to no.3 after making the semi-finals of the Australian Open, winning in Dubai, and being runner-up in Brisbane, Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo. Federer also has a final appearance in Rome and a quarter-final at Roland Garros to defend.
Federer though has room to improve his ranking at Wimbledon where he should do much better than his second round loss to Stakhovsky last season. By then his baby will have arrived and fans will look forward to seeing how both new baby and the input of coach and former Wimbledon winner Stefan Edberg inspire the seven time Champion at the tournament where he won his first Grand Slam in 2003.
Commentary by Christian Deverille