World number 3, 17 time grand slam champion, and arguably the greatest tennis player to ever grace a tennis court has announced today that he will be withdrawing from the 2016 Rio Olympics and the remainder of his 2016 ATP season.
Why is Roger Federer not playing the rest of 2016?
As you can read in his Facebook post, his team that includes his doctors, coaches, wife Mirka, and himself have all decided in order for him to play aggressive tennis he needs more time to heal his knee and recover:
Roger Federer has had one of the most injury free careers that I can think of. He’s been fortunate to have a style of play that allows him to have an effortless style of play and thus preventing injury. Unlike many of his top competitors, (e.g. Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, etc) he’s been able to steadily maintain his body in good form for the grueling tennis tour.
What will Roger Federer miss?
As of right now, Roger Federer plans to miss the remainder of 2016 that includes the 2016 Olympics, 2016 US Open, and the Year End Championships – he hasn’t missed the WTF in the last 13 years, where he’s held the trophy a record 6 times.
Federer will also miss one of his most dominant tournaments, the Cincinnati Masters 1000 event. At this tournament Roger has won it a record 7 times, handily beating most of his opponents (remember Djokovic final 6-0,6-1?).
What does this mean for Federer’s ranking?
Since this is an injury related withdraw, I believe his ranking will be protected until next year. According to the ATP/ITF,
A player may petition the Executive Chairman & President for an Entry Protection when he is physically injured and does not compete in any tennis event for a minimum period of six months. The written petition must be received within six months of his last tournament.
The Entry Protection shall be a position in the Emirates ATP Rankings, as determined by the player’s average Emirates ATP Rankings position during the first three months of his injury. The Entry Protection shall be for entry into the main draw or qualifying competition or for special exempt consideration. The Entry Protection shall not be used for seeding purposes, Lucky Loser consideration or for entry into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The Entry Protection shall be in effect for either the first nine tournaments that the player competes in using the Entry Protection (excluding wild cards and entries as a Direct Acceptance with his current position in the Emirates ATP Rankings) or for the period up to nine months beginning with the first tennis event that the player competes in, whichever occurs first.
If a player is physically injured and does not compete in any tennis event for a period of twelve (12) months or longer, the entry protection shall be in effect for the first twelve (12) singles tournaments and the first twelve (12) doubles tournaments that the player competes in using the entry protection (excluding wild cards and entries as a direct acceptance with his current position in the Emirates ATP Rankings) or for the period up to twelve (12) months beginning with the first tennis event, including Special Events – Exhibitions, that the player competes in, whichever occurs first
So Roger Federer should remain in the top 10 until 2017.
This is a major blow to tennis, Roger Federer always draws a large crowd and is always a pleasure to watch his game, especially when he’s on fire. It is unfortunate that Roger Federer is going to pull out right now, especially with the soon-to-be-released Wilson ProStaff RF97 Autograph that was announced just last week (I’ll still buy one).