With the announcement that Roger Federer has undergone a knee surgery and has pulled out the French Open and all tournaments he was scheduled to play until the grass court season, Roland Garros Tournament Director Guy Forget says it was a wise decision on Federer's part since coming back on clay to play best-of-five set matches after such a surgery would not be advisable.
Speaking to L'Equipe, Forget says, "I got a call from his agent on the phone (Tony Godsick). Roger underwent a small operation yesterday. He will have to be in rehab post surgery for four weeks. If you start too early, the knee can swell.
I understand very well that it can be complicated for him to resume on clay for five-set matches after such a break. It is a wise decision. It (the surgery) is not too serious. From a certain age, and we see it unfortunately also for example with Jo (Tsonga) or Richard (Gasquet), the body becomes fragile.
Each match, each round has consequences. We see that there are more difficult surfaces than others, like the Australian Open or the US Open. The repetition of "braking" on synthetic surfaces creates microtrauma."
Forget adds that while Federer will certainly be missed in Paris, the impact on a tournament like Roland Garros would be less than for a tournament like Basel, which is heavily dependent on the Swiss. "For a Grand Slam tournament, the absence of someone like Federer will always remain less problematic than for, let's say, the Basel tournament.
Obviously, you always like to have the best. Roger's career had been remarkable last year (until the semi-final) and you tell yourself that it would have been great to see what he could have given again this year. But the strength of a Grand Slam tournament is that there are lots of things going on every time.
This is where the players write the story. This year at Roland Garros, we are going to have the inauguration of the roof on the Philippe Chatrier court. Can Thiem beat Rafael Nadal on his court? Can world No. 1 Novak Djokovic win here for the second time? What can Gaël (Monfils), who likes the clay courts, do? You see, there are lots of happy things ahead of us."
38 year old Federer had said that one of his goals for the season was to win one of the six major titles - the four Grand Slams, the Olympics and the Nitto ATP Finals. With the Australian and now French Open gone, he will need to look ahead to the second half of the season to accomplish his goal for the season.