BREAKING NEWS: French Open surprise as Federer withdraws from Roland Garros

By Sports Desk June 06, 2021

Roger Federer withdrew from the French Open on Sunday after winning through to the fourth round, citing a desire not to rush his return from injury.

The 39-year-old Swiss prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 over Dominik Koepfer on Saturday in the longest match he has played in 18 months, following double knee surgery. The contest lasted three hours and 35 minutes.

Federer laboured at times, making 63 unforced errors, fighting hard to triumph in front of an empty crowd locked out by Paris' 9pm curfew, with the match finishing at close to 1am.

The 20-time grand slam winner has played few tournaments over the past 18 months and said a need to rest his body was behind his decision to withdraw.

In a statement released by the French Open, Federer said: "After discussions with my team, I've decided I will need to pull out of Roland Garros today.

"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.

"I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court."

Related items

  • WTA suspends tournaments in China amid concerns over Peng Shuai WTA suspends tournaments in China amid concerns over Peng Shuai

    The WTA has suspended its upcoming tournaments in China amid concern over the safety of Peng Shuai after she made allegations of sexual assault against a top Chinese government official.

    Peng was not seen in public for several weeks after leveling the accusations against Zhang Gaoli, the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee.

    She posted the allegations on social media site Weibo in early November, though her post has since been removed and her whereabouts have been unclear.

    In mid-November, an email allegedly sent by Peng was received by WTA chairman Steve Simon, who expressed his confusion and disbelief at the message, which claimed the sexual assault allegations were false and that the tennis star was safely at home.

    The WTA also welcomed pictures of Peng on a video call with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, but a spokesperson for the women's tennis organisation insisted that did not alleviate the concern.

    Simon called for a full investigation into the incident as he said the prior email only heightened his worries over Peng's safety, also threatening to suspend WTA tournament action in China until the matter was resolved.

    He has since confirmed the suspension will be imposed on tournaments in China in a statement released on Wednesday.

    "When on November 2, 2021, Peng Shuai posted an allegation of sexual assault against a top Chinese government official, the Women's Tennis Association recognised that Peng Shuai's message had to be listened to and taken seriously," Simon's statement read. 

    "The players of the WTA, not to mention women around the world, deserve nothing less.

    "From that moment forward, Peng Shuai demonstrated the importance of speaking out, particularly when it comes to sexual assault, and especially when powerful people are involved.

    "As Peng said in her post, 'Even if it is like an egg hitting a rock, or if I am like a moth drawn to the flame, inviting self-destruction, I will tell the truth about you.' She knew the dangers she would face, yet she went public anyway. I admire her strength and courage."

    The statement outlined a number of grievances with the way the Chinese state has handled the matter, before adding: "As a result, and with the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.

    "In good conscience, I don't see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault."

  • Former British number one Konta retires from tennis aged 30 Former British number one Konta retires from tennis aged 30

    Former British number one Johanna Konta has announced her retirement from tennis after a continuous battle with a knee injury.

    Konta, who is a three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, has not featured on the WTA Tour since August and decided to step away aged 30.

    She became the first British woman in 39 years to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017, while also making the last four at the Australia Open a year earlier and at the French Open in 2019.

    Australia-born Konta, a former world number four, collected four titles on the WTA Tour and represented Great Britain in the Fed Cup.

    In a statement posted on social media on Wednesday, Konta said: "Grateful. This is the word that I've probably been used to the most during my career, and is the word that I feel explains it best at the end.

    "My playing career has come to an end, and I am so incredibly grateful for the career that it turned out to be.

    "All the evidence pointed towards me not 'making' it in this profession. However, my luck materialised in the people that came into my life and impacted my existence in ways that transcended tennis.

    "I am so incredibly grateful for these people. You know who you are."

    Konta made her last tour-level appearance at the Cincinnati Open on August 18 when she lost in the first round to Karolina Muchova.

    The Briton had only one win in her last five majors since reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2019 and dropped to 113th in the rankings but remains thankful for the opportunities she has been granted.

    "Through my own resilience and through the guidance of others, I got to live my dreams," she added. "I got to become what I wanted and said as a child.

    "How incredibly fortunate I count myself to be. How grateful I am."

  • BREAKING NEWS: Lionel Messi wins historic seventh Ballon d'Or BREAKING NEWS: Lionel Messi wins historic seventh Ballon d'Or

    Lionel Messi has won a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or after beating Robert Lewandowski to the most sought-after individual prize in football.

    The Paris Saint-Germain star may have endured a somewhat slow start to life in France this season, but before that he was electric for Barcelona and Argentina.

    It was surely his long-awaited first trophy success with La Albiceleste that gave Messi the edge over Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski. 

    Messi captained Argentina to Copa America success in July, ending their 28-year drought in major international competitions.

     

    At the Maracana – the scene of Argentina's 2014 World Cup final defeat to Germany – Messi helped Lionel Scaloni's men to a 1-0 win over bitter rivals and Copa hosts Brazil.

    He had previously lost Copa finals in 2007, 2015 and 2016, briefly retiring after missing his penalty in the shootout that saw the trophy slip from their grasp in the latter.

    Messi may not have had the decisive impact in this year's final, but over the course of the tournament he was deemed to have been the best player, scoring four goals and setting up another five – no one bettered him in either metric.

     

    Lewandowski had been considered the favourite before then, partly due to breaking Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season.

    The Poland striker looked likely to have won the award in 2020 before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    But Messi's success in Brazil seemed to tip the scales in his favour, with the 34-year-old increasing his lead over Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or stakes, the Manchester United forward now two back on five after finishing sixth in the voting this time around.

    Lewandowski did, however, win the inaugural Striker of the Year award.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.