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article imageFederer, Monfils out of French Open

By Lucky Malicay     May 20, 2016 in Sports
For the first time in 17 years, Roger Federer of Switzerland will miss a Grand Slam event as he announced that he is not competing in this year’s French Open for health reasons.
Federer, winner of record 17 majors, said it is necessary for him to skip the second major of the year since he is not yet 100 percent ready to return to competition.
Skipping the French Open will give Federer, who missed the U.S. Open in 1999, the time to recuperate as he intends to continue playing the rest of the season.
“I regret to announce that I have made the decision not to play in this year’s French Open. I have been making steady progress with my overall fitness, but I am still not 100% and feel I might be taking an unnecessary risk by playing in this event before I am really ready,” Federer said on his website.
“This decision was not easy to make, but I took it to ensure I could play the remainder of the season and help to extend the rest of my career.”
The former world number one, who will turn 35 in August, only played four tournaments this year, including the Australian Open, where he was beaten in the semi-finals by number one and top seed Novak Djokovic.
In February, he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in Switzerland to repair a torn meniscus, forcing him to withdraw from the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai.
While his remarkable run of 65 consecutive Grand Slams came to an end, Federer insisted that his career is far from over and that he hopes to return to the Roland Garros next year.
“I remain as motivated and excited as ever and my plan is to achieve the highest level of fitness before returning to the ATP World Tour for the upcoming grass court season. I am sorry for my fans in Paris but I very much look forward to returning to Roland Garros in 2017,” he said.
Federer, who won his only French Open title in 2009 to complete his career Grand Slam, will have more time to rest as he prepares for Wimbledon in late June and the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in August.
His absence will mean Rafael Nadal moves up to No. 4 from No. 5 in the seedings. Play begins on Sunday.
"Roger's knees are feeling better, but he’s not fit enough to compete in best-of-five matches," said Guy Forget, tournament director at the Roland Garros.
Local favorite Gael Monfils also withdrew from the French Open because of a health condition, tournament organizers said Friday.
"@Gael_Monfils withdraws from #RG16 because of a bad virus. Get well soon and see you for #RG17 Gael," they announced on the official French Open Twitter account.
World number 14 Monfils, who first competed in the French Open 10 years ago, has been bed-ridden last week due to a viral infection. His best performance at the Roland Garros was in 2008 when he reached the semi-finals.
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