Switzerland’s Roger Federer became the third player ranked in the world’s top five to drop out of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
No. 1 player in the world, withdrew Friday, soon after winning a
four-hours-plus marathon against Argentina’s Juan Del Potro in the men’s
Federer will play for the first gold medal of his
career Sunday, and given the magnitude of that event, didn’t think he
could make the quick turnaround to compete next week in Canada.
Federer joins No. 3 Rafael Nadal and No. 5 David Ferrer on the
sidelines, alongside American Andy Roddick, the 2003 Rogers Cup
champion, who also withdrew Friday.
Nadal is out with a knee injury that
obliged him to miss the Olympics, where he was scheduled to be Spain’s
flag bearer. Ferrer withdrew for personal reasons.
tournament director Karl Hale, the good news is that the two other
marquee names in men’s tennis, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Britain’s
Andy Murray, are still coming, even though Murray will play Federer for
Olympic gold Sunday, and will be under some duress of his own.
Hale said he spoke to representatives from both Djokovic’s and Murray’s camps, who “guaranteed” him they would be in Toronto.
“I’m confident both players will be here next week,” Hale said. “I’ll take them at their word.”
more than a year now, organizers of both the men’s event in Toronto and
the women’s event in Montreal were aware that the presence of the
Olympics on the 2012 tennis calendar could play havoc with their
Anticipating the potential overlap between the
two, the fields were reduced to 48 players from 56, with the top 16 all
receiving byes into the second round in the hopes that it would
encourage the elite players to come, even if they made it deep into the
“With the Olympics, we knew that could be an issue,”
Hale said. “That’s why we added the byes for the nine-to-16 players and
moved the men’s final to Sunday night. We did what we could, but it is a
tough schedule for the players.”
The ATP requires its biggest
names to appear in what are classified as Masters 1000 events, but in a
sport as physically demanding as tennis, just about every player is
playing injured to some extent, so finding a plausible medical reason to
drop out is generally not that difficult.
Because of all the
withdrawals, Canada’s Milos Raonic has been moved up to the 16th seed
and will receive a bye into the second round.
Raonic, ranked No. 23 in
the world, has previously been seeded in Grand Slam tournaments (because
they seed down to 32 players), but this will be his first time seeded
in a Masters event.
In a conference call prior to the Olympics,
Raonic had hoped that the tournament’s format changes, coupled with its
importance on the tennis calendar, would keep the dropouts to a minimum.
is played all over the world and all of us have had moments with tight
schedules,” Raonic said. “I’ve only been on the tour two years, but I’ve
gone back-to-back from San Jose to Memphis, which is nine hours of
travel, and you deal with it. You try to get past those first few days
and you know it’s just going to get better and better.”
offers more than $3-million in prize money and invaluable ranking
points. Raonic is in an especially enviable position. Because he missed
last year’s tournament recovering from hip surgery, he has no ranking
points to defend in Canada or at the U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam of
the season, in a month’s time.
It means with a couple of good results in
these events, Raonic could crack the top 20 for the first time in his
career, something no other Canadian man has ever done in singles (though
Daniel Nestor is co-ranked the world’s No. 1 in doubles).
who lost a marathon four-hour match to world No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
of France at the Olympics, is scheduled to make his first appearance in
prime time Tuesday.
In a statement issued through Tennis Canada,
Federer explained his decision this way: “I am very disappointed I have
to withdraw from Toronto, as I love the city and the Canadian fans are
amazing. I have always enjoyed playing there, but after a long stretch
of tournaments, I will need some time to recover.”