New Delhi: 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer on Thursday shocked the tennis world by announcing his withdrawal from the 2016 French Open.
The Swiss maestro, in a Facebook post, said that he is "still not 100%" and was worried that he "might be taking an unnecessary risk by playing" at Roland Garros.
Federer has played a record 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. And for the first time in over 16 years, a Grand Slam will not have Federer competing.
The 34-year-old was withdrew from the Madrid Masters two weeks ago with a back problem, and lost in the third round of last week's Rome Masters to Dominic Thiem, appearing not fully fit.
Here is the full statement:
Federer has struggled with injury this year, having undergone knee surgery after January's Australian Open. However, the former world number one returned for Monte Carlo Masters in April and reached the quarter-finals, where he was beaten by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The Swiss' withdrawal from the tournament, which starts on Sunday, means that nine-time champion Rafael Nadal will be promoted to fourth seed in Friday`s draw behind Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and defending champion Stan Wawrinka.
It also means that Nadal cannot meet Djokovic or Murray before the semi-finals.
Federer completed a career Grand Slam when he captured the 2009 title in Paris.
His overall record in the French capital stands at 65 wins against just 16 losses with four defeats in finals, all at the hands of Nadal with the most recent back in 2011.
Federer`s absence is another blow to Roland Garros organisers who have seen two-time women`s champion Maria Sharapova sidelined through a doping suspension while former world number one Caroline Wozniacki is out injured.