Tornto | Federer’s withdrawal is Murray’s gain
Roger Federer has withdrawn from next week’s Rogers Cup in Canada, citing scheduling reasons and prompting some criticism among his fans, but his absence could well to prove of benefit to Andy Murray.
Rafael Nadal also is confirmed to play and has won the title twice, but he’s also appeared in the final six times, losing to both Murray and Novak Djokovic, as well as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and most recently Alexander Zverev last year.
Federer hasn’t won the Canadian Masters 1000 tournament since 2006 and his loss there last year was a missed opportunity since it would have capped off a year where he collected an impressive portion of the hard court Masters titles, including the ‘Sunshine Double’ in Indian Wells and Miami, and the Shanghai Masters later in the year in another final win over Nadal.
2018 hasn’t been as kind to the 20-time Grand Slam champion, however, despite starting out with a smashing title win in Australia, but other players have upped their game against the Swiss.
Juan Martin del Potro beat him in the Indian Wells final, and surprise losses to men rising through the ranks—Borna Coric in Halle and Kevin Anderson in Wimbledon—haven’t helped his cause.
Plus, Novak Djokovic’s return, winning his 13th Grand Slam title in London signals he is back to form.
Federer admitted to being tired after Wimbledon and when he played Montreal last year, the season seemed to have caught up with him.
Murray has won the Canadian Open three times and is comfortable on the hard courts, so is looking for his own comeback story to cement his place back in the Big Four.
He will try out his form again at the Citi Open in Washington, DC
The question is whether Federer will ever play in Canada again as he continuously adjusts his schedule.
The Rogers Cup usually falls on the week of his birthday and he will be turning 37 next month and has elected to play the Cincinnati Open where his track record is much better, having appeared in the most finals and converting all seven of them to titles.
Federer continues to look for pockets of recuperation as he gears up for the US Open and the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the year.