Tennis great Roger Federer withdrew from the French Open on Sunday citing knee concerns after narrowly winning a third round match that lasted 3 1/2 hours.
Federer beat 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer in the third round in a match that did not end until 1 a.m. Sunday.
“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery,” the Swiss player, who turns 40 on Aug. 8, said in a statement. “I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court.”
Federer is a 20-time Grand Slam champion. This was his first major competition since the 2020 Australian Open. He had the first of his knee surgeries shortly after competing.
He said last month he did not think he was ready to compete for the French title. He hopes to win at Wimbledon, a grass court at which he has won a record eight times. That tournament starts June 28.
The No. 8-seeded Federer was supposed to play No. 9-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the fourth round on Monday with the winner facing either No. 1 Novak Djokovic or unseeded Lorenzo Musetti in the quarterfinals.
“The Roland Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night,” tournament director Guy Forget said in a statement. “We were all delighted to see Roger back in Paris, where he played three high-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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