I don’t really like getting back on the topic, but circumstances are quite forcing me to do so. The season is a week old and, at this hour, we’ve had, ATP and WTA combined and qualifications included, close to 20 retirements or walkovers, and even those who do not usually pull out do!
I am of course referring here to Roger Federer, who was forced to pull-out of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open just before his semi-final match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga because of some back issues that surfaced during his second-round match against Grega Zemlja, and after havinf considered withdrawing prior to his quarter-final match. Yes, again, the back.
With the Australian Open fast approaching, it was, I think, the best decision to make in his case. Nevertheless, it was only the second time in his career that Federer did not complete a tournament he has started. The first time was also a walkover, in Paris-Bercy 2008. He has never retired from a match.
A real class act, Federer took time, after his press conference, to go out and apologize to the public who had come to encourage him:
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A bit worrisome so close to the Australian Open.
Other injury news, on the men’s side, was that of Fernando González pulling out of both the Heineken Open (Auckland) and the Australian Open due to a virus. Another blow to the injury-plagued veteran and hopefully he can finally manage a decent comeback this season. Same goes for Tommy Robredo, who pulled out from Auckland as well because of the leg injury that he’s had for many months now. I’m crossing my fingers for him to be in Melbourne!
Furthermore, Marin Cilic officialized what we knew since the beginning of December: he won’t play the Australian Open because of a knee injury.
I stick only to the men’s side, but the situation is no better on the WTA Tour, with injuries to Serena Williams (sprained ankle) and Kim Clijsters (hip injury), both forced to pull out (Williams) or retire (Clijsters) from the Brisbane International.
And we are only a week into the season!
I think that, here, I talk for every tennis fan when I say: can we have an injury time off, please?