Tennis ace Roger Federer on Tuesday revealed that he will skip 2017 French Open, starting 28 May in Paris, in order to keep himself fit for challenges on grass and hard courts later this year.
Federer had missed last year's French Open as well, which was also the first time he skipped the premier clay court tournament since he started featuring in it in 1999, due to issues with his back. The 2009 winner's decision comes after he withdrew from the action in Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona, Madrid Masters and Rome Masters.
Notably, the 18-time Grand Slam winner had hinted earlier that he would miss most part of the clay season but would return to Roland Garros. However, he says traveling to Paris with very little exposure of playing on the red dirt this season will be of no use and that he needs to schedule his stops on the tour properly to build on what has been a solid early-season run on hard courts.
Federer, on return from a long injury layoff, battled against odds to win his 18th major title at Australian Open, beating arch-rival Rafael Nadal in the final and went on to complete a sunshine double with crowns at Indian Wells and Miami.
"Regrettably, I have decided not to participate in the French Open. I have been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it is best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons," Federer said, as quoted by his official website.
"The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward. Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season."
While Federer added that he will miss the fans in France this season and will look forward to 2018 action, here are some of the reactions to his Roland Garros pullout.