(REUTERS) - Roger Federer has pulled out of the Rio Olympics and will miss the rest of the season, including the US Open, because he needs “more extensive rehabilitation” after knee surgery earlier this year as he bids to prolong his career.
Last month, he described how “one stupid move” sparked a chain of bad luck – which resulted in left knee surgery in February and sitting out the French Open with a back injury – culminating in Tuesday’s (July 26) decision to end his wretched season.
“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,” the 17-times grand slam champion said on his Facebook page.
“Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, 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. It is tough to miss the rest of the year.”
For much of his career, the seven-times Wimbledon champion had been blessed with a body that seemed bullet-proof against the aches, pains and injuries suffered by most top athletes.
But one false move by the man known for his gliding footwork, while running a bath for his twin daughters following his Australian Open semi-final loss, means he would have gone a whole season without a title for the first time since 2000.
Now aged 34, Tuesday’s announcement also probably ended the former world number one’s hopes of ever winning an Olympic singles title.
“The silver lining is that this experience has made me realise how lucky I have been throughout my career with very few injuries,” said Federer, who won an Olympic doubles gold with Stan Wawrinka in 2008.
“The love I have for tennis, the competition, tournaments and... the fans remains intact. 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.”