Roger Federer's withdrawal as top seed for the Gerry Weber Open in Halle is by no means as significant as his chief rival Rafael Nadal's decision to pull out of the other main Wimbledon warm-up tournament, the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club. With Nadal racing against time to recover from injuries to both knees in the hope of making a successful defence to his Wimbledon title, Federer has all the time in the world to take it easy after winning his record-equalling 14th grand slam title in Paris on Sunday.
It is not the first time Federer has let down his German hosts. He took a similar decision two years ago after failing narrowly to depose Nadal as French Open champion and that had little effect on his preparations for Wimbledon which he went on to win for the fifth successive year that time. The Swiss is physically and mentally drained again after his Roland Garros exploits - this time as a triumphant winner of the one major title to have eluded him - and thought it best to take an extra week's rest before embarking on another grass court campaign. He apologised to the fans in Halle, saying: "I only hope they will understand that I still feel emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted by the incredible events of the past few days."
In yesterday's action in Halle, the German player Mischa Zverev rallied to upset the fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 to reach the quarter-finals of the event. Also out was the German eighth seed Rainer Schuettler, who was knocked out by his unseeded compatriot Benjamin Becker 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. At the Aegon Championship in London, Xavier Malisse received a bye through to the third round after his scheduled Russian opponent Marat Safin pulled out with a back injury.
The Croatian No 5 seed Marin Cilic was beaten 7-6, 7-6 in yesterday's second round by France's Nicolas Mahut in a match that had no breaks of serve. firstname.lastname@example.org