The Swiss world No 1 Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Dubai Tennis Championships due to a chest infection.
Federer misses Dubai event again
DUBAI // For the second year running Roger Federer has dealt acruel blow to a tournament close to his heart. The world No 1, who has a home in the emirate, last night reluctantly withdrew from the Dubai Tennis Championships because of a lung infection. Federer, last seen on a tennis court regaining his Australian Open title after a tough final against Britain's Andy Murray, opted to take no chances on his fitness after being told that he needs at least two weeks' rest to clear up the illness. A back injury led to the Swiss making a similar withdrawal from this event 12 months ago and the year before that the four-time champion was defeated in the first round by Murray. "I have not had much court time here over the last three years and I'm really disappointed about that because I've had so much success here in the past," he said. Federer, who hopes to return to action in Indian Wells, California, next month, admitted to being shocked by the debilitating problem. "I've been taking it easy after Australia," said the 16-time grand slam winner. "That was my first goal, to get relaxed and everything. I went to Switzerland, I came over here almost 10 days ago now. I went to Ethiopia as well and since I came back I've been practising really hard. Tuesday was my last day of practice and on Wednesday I couldn't get up anymore. It's been tough because I was in decent shape and ready to go and excited. "I was healthy and I survived the whole travelling from Australia back and forth and finally getting to Dubai and into the practice routines again. But I just can't play." Federer's place at the top of the 32-man Dubai draw will be taken by Tommy Robredo, the Spaniard ranked ninth in the tournament. Robredo's place will go to either a lucky loser or a qualifier. Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, seeded two, becomes the top-ranked player in the event which runs from today until Saturday. He is scheduled to meet Murray in the final. Federer tried to be upbeat. "I've had a few things like this happen during my career and I've always managed to come back strongly," he said. "I guess looking back at the glandular fever thing you've got to be careful. "I think this one is a bit more straightforward than that illness. They say maximum of six weeks. Normally if you treat it properly it should go away fairly quickly." firstname.lastname@example.org