It has been quite a tennis renaissance, but he will now be forced to take another extended break from competition.
He said he would miss the hardcourt events in Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami as well as the French Open, the next Grand Slam event of the year, which is contested on red clay.Last year, Federer accumulated more than 3,000 ranking points in that phase of the season: winning titles in Dubai and Miami, reaching the final in Indian Wells and the semifinals at the French Open in his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015.
Unable to defend those points this year, Federer’s ranking will slip, but he should still be inside the top 10 in June, even after a four-month break from competition. He should also still receive a high seeding at Wimbledon, which uses a formula that takes recent grass-court results into account.
Federer also announced that he would be unable to take part in a rescheduled exhibition on March 24 in Bogotá, Colombia against Alexander Zverev. That exhibition was originally scheduled for November but had to be canceled at the last minute after large-scale demonstrations in Bogotá led to the imposition of a curfew.
The decision to call off that match left Federer in tears in the locker room. He was in tears again in Cape Town, South Africa, on Feb. 7, deeply moved as he and longtime rival Rafael Nadal played an exhibition to benefit Federer’s charitable foundation that drew a crowd of 51,954 to Cape Town Stadium.
Federer showed no clear signs of a knee injury during that match, chasing down lobs and lunging for groundstrokes and volleys as he and Nadal played three sets of singles.
But he did struggle with his mobility and health during last month’s Australian Open, experiencing some back and leg pain as he battled his way to the semifinals, saving seven match points in a quarterfinal victory over Tennys Sandgren, an unseeded American.