Two months before turning 40, Roger Federer scored three wins to advance into the fourth round at Roland Garros as the oldest player in Paris in the Open era. Competing at his first Major in almost 500 days, Roger toppled Denis Istomin, Marin Cilic and Dominik Koepfer before deciding to withdraw, not risking anything ahead of the grass swing in Halle and Wimbledon.
Roger defeated Dominik after three hours and 35 minutes, prevailing 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 in his biggest test since that severe knee injury that had kept him away from the court for 13 months. Federer had to give his best to emerge at the top, winning one point more than his opponent and crossing the finish line with a late break in set number four.
Not willing to risk anything ahead of Wimbledon and further stress his knee, Federer decided to withdraw from Paris ahead of the Matteo Berrettini clash and throw everything on the upcoming events on the fastest surface. Daniil Medvedev understands Roger's decision, knowing how vital Wimbledon is for him and stating that he would dream about winning it until he is 50!
Roger claimed the junior Wimbledon crown in 1998 and reached the quarter-final three years later after stunning the seven-time winner Pete Sampras in five thrilling sets. From 2003, Roger was a player to beat at the All England Club for ten years, securing seven titles until 2012 and entering the record books as one of the ultimate legends of the world's most prestigious event.
Federer's eighth and so far the last Wimbledon crown came in 2017, with another title clash coming two years ago, just before the 38th birthday.
Roger Federer withdrew from Roland Garros after three matches to focus on Wimbledon.
Turning the clock around, Federer stood a point away from the ninth Wimbledon crown, having two match points on serve against Novak Djokovic.
But, like many times before, the Serb produced a marvelous comeback and defeated Roger in five thrilling sets after nearly five hours of an epic battle. After missing 13 months, Federer's primary goal was always Wimbledon, as he wants to seek the 21st Major crown at his beloved Major.
"We all know that a Major is still Roger's primary goal. I think he always thinks about winning Wimbledon, even when he will be 50. He will have a chance this year, and he wants to do his best to prepare. If Koepfer wants to be in the next round, sorry, he needed to beat Roger.
It doesn't matter if he retires after. That's how tennis is; to be in the next round, you need to beat your opponent. So I don't see why Roger should be criticized. At the same time, I understand people who do it. Me, I won't criticize him," Daniil Medvedev said.