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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Roger Federer's Rogers Cup withdrawal means less preparation for US Open

World No 2, who understandably wants to keep himself fresh for US Open action, possibly has just Cincinnati tournament to play in

Roger Federer has won three tournaments, including the Australian Open, in the 2018 season. Getty Images
Roger Federer has won three tournaments, including the Australian Open, in the 2018 season. Getty Images

Roger Federer’s decision to pull out of the Rogers Cup in Canada leaves him with just one big tournament to play in ahead of the US Open.

Federer announced early on Tuesday he was going to give the Toronto tournament a miss in his bid to stay fresh for the season’s fourth and final grand slam tournament, which is scheduled to be held in New York from August 27-September 9.

The world No 2 is a two-time Rogers Cup champion, winning both titles when the tournament was held in Toronto. The event, scheduled to be held from August 6-12 this year, alternates between Toronto and Montreal, where Federer finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev in 2017.

Jeremy Chardy of France will take his place in the main draw.

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“I’m so disappointed not to play at the Rogers Cup this summer,” Federer said in a statement. “I had a fantastic time in Montreal last year and always enjoy playing in front of the Canadian fans.

“Unfortunately with scheduling being the key to my longevity moving forward, I have regrettably decided to withdraw from Toronto this year. I am sorry to miss it.”

Organisers said the event, which takes place at Toronto’s York University, will feature 19 of the top 20 players in the world including reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic and world No 1 Rafael Nadal.

“It’s unfortunate that we won’t have Roger in Toronto this summer,” tournament spokesman Karl Hale said.

This means the five-time US Open winner can realistically be expected to play in just one tournament of repute - the Cincinnati Open - before action gets under way at Flushing Meadows.

The Swiss master is scheduled to play in Cincinnati, where he has won a tournament-record seven times but missed it last year because of a back injury. Federer, due to turn 37 during the Rogers Cup, has played seven tournaments this year and won three.

He last appeared at Wimbledon where he lost in the quarter-finals to eventual runner-up Kevin Anderson.

The last of Federer’s five consecutive US Open wins came in 2008. And after losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the final the following year, he has not reached the summit clash.

Meanwhile, Djokovic - the man who ended up winning the Wimbledon title this year - will hope to cause another upset at the US Open as he continue his recovery from elbow surgery.

“I understand that people are questioning whether I can consistently play on this level. Trust me, I am, too,” Djokovic said. “At the same time I can’t look too far on the road because I have to embrace and cherish this kind of accomplishment.

“I really can’t see the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I like to play on hard courts. US Open was always successful tournament for me. I haven’t played it last year because of injuries.

“I’m looking forward to also go out there and play my best and see where it takes me,” the Serbian former world No 1 said.

Andy Murray, another former world No 1 who returned from hip surgery a few weeks ago at Queen’s but did not play Wimbledon, will feature at the Rogers Cup. Murray, 30, is also scheduled to play at the Washington Open next week.

The British player has dropped below the top 800 in the men’s singles rankings.