Roger Federer withdrew from the Paris Masters this week to rest his body, leaving the director of the tournament furious.
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) 30 October 2017
The 36-year old player announced his decision after winning the Basel final in Switzerland, on Sunday. Federer said that his week had been tiring and he wanted a week off to calm his body for the season ending ATP World Tour Finals in London next month.
“I played five matches in six days. I now need to rest,” said Federer. “Playing Paris-Bercy following Basel before the London Masters would not be reasonable.”
The Swiss underwent a knee surgery last year. Since then, he had played a limited schedule to prevent any injury. He missed the second half of the season in 2016 and skipped the entire clay-court season in 2017.
“You know, I’m always recalling 2016 – a tough year, because I could not play for eight months. Having had a week like this [in Basel], I need to ‘calm’ myself.”
Federer had a battling win at the Basel final over Juan Martin del Potro 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-3. The Swiss player won his eighth Indoors title in his hometown this Sunday.
“Winning like that gives it a special flavor,” He told local press. “It’s always a dream to win here,” he said referring to his hometown.
Federer’s decision means that now Rafael Nadal is just one win away from clinching the year end No. 1 ranking. The Spaniard needs to win either a match in Paris or at the Nitto ATP Finals in London to earn a year ending top ranking for the fourth time in his career.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 1, 2017
Paris Organizers are not at all happy with Federer’s decision, especially their director Guy Forget. The man was very disappointed and repeatedly slammed Federer for being selfish.
He was notified by Federer’s agent Tony Godsick, just hours after the Basel final.
“You imagine my disappointment, my frustration. I had his agent on the phone who told me of his wish to recover because he is at the end of the roll. We take note of it,” Forget said, speaking to l’Equipe.
Both Federer and Nadal had been hoped to go head-to-head in the Paris Masters, but Federer’s decision brutally ended that hope.
“We have no other recourse against that. We are sad about all the efforts that have been made for many weeks and many months to welcome Roger and Rafa into this room.
“Unfortunately, Rafa will be alone. There are other great champions, but I am convinced that Roger’s Parisian fans will be very disappointed.”
The director questioned the 19-times grand slam winner’s decision to prioritize a Masters 500 event in Basel over a Masters 1000 event in Paris.
“The tennis player, by definition, looks at his own interest, what interests him, what interests him less and has to make choices.
“At 36, we pay more attention than when we have 25. Nevertheless, I still think that the Masters 1000 are the nine biggest tournaments of the calendar.
Forget, who was a former top-five player himself in the early 1990s, thinks that the refusal has somehow lowered the reputation of his event. “When a player, whoever he is, misses this appointment, it weakens the credibility of the circuit. I greet all those who make the effort. So some are a little diminished.”
“Rafael Nadal is here. Others made the effort. Some have had surgery; you cannot get them out of their hospital bed.
“When a player wins a tournament 500 kilometers away and is not there the next week, we are bound to be sad.”
The 16-times grand slam winner, Nadal is now most likely to secure the top rank this year. Federer’s win in Basel reduced the gap on Rafa by 1,460 points, but the Spaniard must win one more round to put himself clear of his great rival.
Even though, Federer withdrew Paris, he said, “It should not be assumed I’m not interested in the No. 1 ranking anymore.”
Although Parisians are disappointed with Federer’s decision, the Swiss is right in his place by prioritizing his fitness above all else. He had been playing the whole week in Basel and couldn’t afford this back to back playing, due to his recent knee surgery.
“My body is again asking for a break. I can feel it. People always think it is easy and simple to run through tournaments, but it really isn’t.”
After all “the wearer knows where the shoe pinches”