Federer withdraws from Madrid with back injury

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Mutua Madrid Open because of a back injury, the World No. 3 announced on Monday. The Swiss was scheduled to play on Wednesday in just his second tournament back since undergoing knee surgery in February.

"I don't want to take more chances as I know I'm not going to be fully ready for Wednesday," he added, referring to his opening match.

Federer, however, said he would be back for the Rome Masters next week.

"I would rather play it safe and rest up now and get ready for Rome. I'm sorry to the tournament for coming and leaving without playing.

"I arrived and I was okay and then I practiced on Saturday and hurt my back a little bit and stopped early. I'm very disappointed to say the least," said Federer.

"I changed my schedule around and practiced well in Switzerland before coming here."

The three-time Madrid champion said he was scheduled to practice for two hours but had to quit after one hour and 15 minutes. He skipped practice altogether on Sunday and Monday.

Federer has struggled with injuries this season. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus on 3 February and was scheduled to return at the Miami Open in March. But the all-time great had to withdraw from the Masters 1000 tournament because of a stomach virus. Instead, he returned to tour-level action last month at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, making the quarter-finals.

''It's been a tough year,'' Federer said. ''I hope it gets better from here.''

Federer downplayed the seriousness of the injury, saying that it has happened to him before and he knows how to treat it.

''This is normal back things I've had in the past, which I guess is good, because I know how to handle it, I know how long it can take,'' Federer said. ''It's the back stuff I kind of know. I'm OK with it, at least I know what it is.

"Nevertheless, I've been able to practice as much as I've wanted to. I came back on tour quicker than I thought I would. So in terms of schedule, I guess I still am still somewhat on par."

Federer admitted his lack of match practice during the clay-court season could affect his chances at the French Open, but is focused on being 100 percent for his quest to land an eighth Wimbledon title and a first Olympic singles gold.

"The goal has always been that I'm at a 100 percent when the French comes around. If not, then, at the latest, Wimbledon," he continued.

"I probably can enter the French Open or clay-court season with maybe a little bit less expectations because you guys expect less from me.

"I'm not the overwhelming favourite in those events, and sometimes that can be helpful, too. I still put pressure on myself wanting to go far and deep and play well.

"Maybe something can happen at the French. If not, there is still a huge summer ahead."

Date: 2 May 2016, Source: ATP, AP and Reuters


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