Federer withdraws as Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Zverev progress.

The big news on the men’s side was the confirmation by Roger Federer, that, after his promised analyses and reflections of the past week, has decided to withdraw from the French Open in order to safeguard his body with a week’s rest to get ready for the grass court season which, for the Swiss great, will start in Halle on Monday 14th.

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 Roger Federer

It will be the first time the 39-year-old 20-time grand slam champion has pulled out of a major as he gives Italy’s Matteo Berrettini a walk-over into the quarter-finals.

Needless to say, Federer’s decision dominated a day in which the favourites from the bottom half of the draw, continued to progress without much difficulty with only one of the four matches contested going past three sets and that one involved the world No.45, the stockily built, 22-year-old blond Spaniard who has Swedish connections through his father.

Stefanos Tsitsipas recovered from a break in the third to beat former quarter-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta, the 12th seed from Spain, 6-3 6-2 7-5, and declared himself well satisfied.

“My performance was good. I was very mentally there in every single game,” The Greek, seeded five, said. “Whether I was serving or not, I was very concentrated in the procedure — in the process.”


Daniil Medvedev is sorry for Dominik Koepfer but supports Federer's decision

MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

Daniil Medvedev was on Court Suzanne Lenglen where he defeated the 22nd seed, Chile’s Cristian Garin, 6-2 6-1 7-5 and in the process avenged the loss he experienced to the Chilean in Madrid.

Having never won a match at Roland Garros before this year, Medvedev’s run into the last eight has certainly put him in contention but he faces Tsitsipas next and that could well be the end of his trip to Paris.

But Medvedev, who needed treatment in the third and was down a break, recovered well and, as the world number two, could still produce a surprise or two.

“To beat me the opponent needs to play good. First two sets, he didn’t play good, so it was in my favour. Third set he started playing better, he could win it,” Medvedev admitted. “(It) was a tight set, tight encounter.

“Straight from the beginning of the match I could almost return every ball in the court.

“In Madrid, even if I was not playing bad, I felt that any shot could go somewhere where I didn’t want. You can make mistakes. I had only one break point in the first game on his serve, and that was my only break point in the match,” Medvedev said. “I was missing the returns because I didn’t feel confident in my shots and in my game.”

Alexander Zverev, the sixth seed, had the misfortune of being selected to play in the empty Court Philippe-Chatrier night session but unlike Federer the night before, the lack of atmosphere didn’t affect the German who breezed past Kei Nishikori, beating the Japanese star for a third time in a month 6-4 6-1 6-1.

“I hope I continue playing the same way I did this match. Maybe even better,” Zverev said. “Now we’re in the quarter-finals, there’s only eight of us left, and the opponents are not getting easier. You need to perform at your best; play at your best.”

Since going down 0-2 in the first round, Zverev has won his last 12 sets and hopes to build on that when he faces the unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina who knocked out Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-4.


Roger Federer with Dominik Kopepfer after their round encounter

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

But as mentioned, Federer’s withdrawal was the topic of the day and it wasn’t a popular one. His fans will of course be disappointed as no doubt, are the French authorities who could usefully use his drawing power.

But he has been honest with everyone in declaring that his primary objective is winning a ninth Wimbledon title and that the French was just a stepping-stone towards that goal. Nonetheless, everyone expected him to play on until he got beaten, not just pull out to suit himself!

“After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of Roland Garros today,” Federer, who will turn 40 in two months time, said.

“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.”

Former U.S. Davis Cup captain turned ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe, told the New York Times he was not impressed by Federer’s decision.

“I understand it but I don’t like it,” he said.

“It’s just not a great look to pull out of a tournament in the middle.

“It’s one thing if you sprain an ankle badly and finish a match on adrenaline.
Those things happen. But it’s another thing when you kind of go into a tournament knowing that you probably aren’t going to be able to really finish the tournament.”

That view was supported by Paul McNamee, a former doubles specialist and Australian Open Tournament Director, who tweeted: ‘You’re not at a candy store, able to pick and choose which matches you play, as your actions affect others, and the tournament.”

But he did receive support from Daniil Medvedev who touched on Dominik Koepfer’s situation.

“I think it’s a tough topic because it’s always a question where, straight after the match, he says he is probably going to retire. Then Koepfer is there, losing a tight match, maybe saying, ‘Well, I could have done better maybe after’” the Russian told Foxsports.

“At the same time, tennis is brutal. If Koepfer wants it to be in the next round, sorry, he needed to beat Roger. It doesn’t matter if he retires after. That’s how tennis is, to be in the next round, you need to beat your opponent.”




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