The Roger Federer withdrawal from two major North American hardcourt tournaments has put his participation in the US Open very much in doubt.
The tournaments announced separately that Federer had pulled out due to his lingering right knee injury. The reason that the Federer withdrawal from these Masters 1000 tournaments makes his US Open future look so hazy is simply this: There has only been one time in the 20 years he has played the US Open that Federer did not play a hard court warm-up just before the year’s final Grand Slam.
Federer is a creature of habit. He’s old school. The 20-time Grand Slam champion likes his familiar schedules and routines. He’s won Cincinnati seven times and Toronto twice before heading into US Opens. As the Swiss maestro turns 40 on Sunday, it’s hard to imagine him testing his once-again-rehabbed, twice surgically repaired knee on the rigors of the hard courts in Flushing, New York.
The one and only time Federer skipped the US hard court swing before playing the US Open was all the way back in 2001, when he was just 20 years old. He lost in the Round of 16 to Andre Agassi that year. In fact, Federer enjoys Cincinnati so much that on two occasions–2004 and 2008–he played Cincy, traveled across the world to play in the Olympics, then came all the way back to the U.S. to play in New York, all in the span of just a few short weeks.
Roger Federer in 2021
Federer’s last match was a quarterfinal loss to Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon, in which he infamously got bageled in the last frame of a straight-sets loss.
In addition to Federer, Rafael Nadal’s hard court season is also in question due to a foot injury. However, the Spanish star is currently managing in Washington, D.C.
Before fans begin to wonder if Federer will now retire, keep in mind that the Swiss superstar has emphasized his desire to focus on rehabilitation and improving as a competitor. With the resurgence of COVID concerns and a spike in cases due to the delta variant in the United States, it’s possible Federer will start fresh in 2022. That would allow Federer to give the ATP Tour another lap so that full stadiums could enjoy seeing him again.
Main Photo from Getty.