The season's second Major in Paris is behind us, with Novak Djokovic as the last man standing following a thrilling win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Besides the results, the most controversial moment of the entire event came when the 20-time Major winner Roger Federer withdrew ahead of the fourth-round clash with Matteo Berrettini.
The Swiss played a marathon match in the third round and didn't want to risk anything with his knee ahead of Halle and Wimbledon. Greg Rusedski believes that Roger's move was a little disrespectful towards the organizers and fans, suggesting he should have stepped on the court against the Italian, played a couple of games and retired.
Competing at Majors for the first time since the last year's Australian Open, Roger took down Denis Istomin and Marin Cilic to advance into the third round, where he faced Dominik Koepfer. Federer beat Koepfer 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 in three hours and 35 minutes, advancing into the fourth round but stressing his knee too much after not playing for 13 months!
The 27-year-old German threw everything he had at Roger on an empty Court Philippe-Chatrier under the lights, firing 55 winners and 40 unforced errors and pushing the legend to the limits. In the end, Roger won one point more and sealed the deal with a late break in the fourth set to become the oldest player to reach the fourth round at Majors since 1978!
The opening set lasted for over an hour, and Koepfer saved a set point at 4-5 to prolong it. Federer grabbed the tie break 7-5 with a volley winner at the net for an early advantage against a tough opponent. The second set saw some loose serving early on and four breaks in the opening six games.
There were no more chances for the returners after that, and Dominik claimed the breaker 7-3 following Roger's backhand mistakes to level the overall score after two hours. Firing from all cylinders, the lower-ranked player produced three commanding holds early in the third set and broke Roger in the opening game to open a 4-2 gap, looking good in those moments.
Roger Federer withdrew from Roland Garros after winning three matches.
Determined to fight, Federer pulled the break back at 3-4 when his rival netted a backhand and created a set point at 6-5. Koepfer saved it to reach a tie break that Federer clinched 7-4 after a crafty drop shot that sent him two sets to one in front at midnight.
They traded breaks in games three and four in set number four to stay close to each other before Roger served to stay in the set at 4-5. The Swiss produced a hold at 30 and broke Dominik at 15 a few minutes later for the crucial lead.
Serving for the victory, the 2009 winner held at 15 to seal the deal and celebrate the 365th Major victory in style, withdrawing from the event on the following day. "It was a little disrespectful to pull out the way he did.
I wish he had gone on the court against Matteo Berrettini. There are four big tournaments in the tennis year, and the French Open is one of them. He gets away with it because he is Roger Federer and people want to see him play, but I just don't think it was right.
He should have gone out there against Berrettini. Even if he lost in straight sets, it doesn't matter. This was the fourth round of a Major, and if he steps on the court, plays five games and says his knees are hurting, at least he has shown up.
Who knows how long he will play for. That may have been his last Roland Garros, but we keep wondering when Roger might stop," Greg Rusedski said.