Federer vows to return stronger after lay-off

Swiss tennis great Roger Federer will miss the Olympics for the first time since his debut in 2000. The 17-time Major champion said he is out for the the season as he seeks to recover fully from injuries.
Swiss tennis great Roger Federer will miss the Olympics for the first time since his debut in 2000. The 17-time Major champion said he is out for the the season as he seeks to recover fully from injuries.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS • Roger Federer said on Tuesday he will miss the remainder of the season, including next month's Olympic Games in Rio, as the 17-time Grand Slam champion recovers from a knee injury.

Federer, who turns 35 next month, underwent knee surgery in February before missing May's French Open with a back problem. And the Swiss star said he was calling time on this season to focus on his recovery.

"I'm extremely disappointed to announce that I will not be able to represent Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Rio and that I will also miss the remainder of the season," he said on his Facebook page.

"I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year.

"The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury-free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover."

Federer, who suffered a five-set loss to Milos Raonic in the semi-finals at Wimbledon just over a fortnight ago, is enduring the toughest year of his career.

His injury-enforced absence at Roland Garros ended a streak of 65 successive Grand Slam appearances stretching back to 1999.

He has also failed to add to his 88 titles this year, his longest drought since 2000.

Federer won doubles gold with Stan Wawrinka at Beijing in 2008, but an Olympic singles title is the lone major prize to escape Federer in his record-breaking career, having finished runner-up to Andy Murray at London 2012.

But the former world No. 1 insisted he would now focus on making a full recovery. He recently said that he would play in the Hopman Cup ahead of next year's Australian Open.

He said: "I am as motivated as ever and plan to put all my energy towards coming back strong, healthy and in shape to play attacking tennis in 2017."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline 'Federer vows to return stronger after lay-off'. Print Edition | Subscribe