Tennis champ Roger Federer has announced that he will not be playing in the French Open this month. The 18-time Grand Slam champion shared the news this week with his fans in a message posted to his official website. Citing the need to rest up and focus on the later season, he said, “Regrettably, I’ve decided not to participate in the French Open. I’ve 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’s best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons.”
Given Federer’s stunning win against rival and fellow legend Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open earlier this year and his record 18th Grand Slam title, the news is definitely disappointing to his fans around the world. This year has seen the 35-year-old Federer have his best calendar season start in a decade, including titles at the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open, but the Swiss star and his team are focusing on the future. In an interview with the Associated Press this week, Severin Luthi, Federer’s coach, said, “I think it was the best decision for him. It’s an investment in his career—for this season and for the coming seasons.”
Federer’s fans glimpsed a more fashion-forward side of the tennis icon earlier this month when he and his wife, Mirka, attended the Met Gala. Federer wore a Gucci tuxedo with an elaborate design of a cobra across his back.
In closing his message, Federer did offer fans some hopeful words: “I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive, and I look forward to seeing them at Roland-Garros next year.”
Play at the Federer-less 2017 French Open begins in Paris on May 22.