New Delhi: Roger Federer pulls out of the high-stake ATP World Tour Finals title clash against defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
The Swiss maestro announced before the match that he was "not match-fit" after developing a back problem. The 33-year-old then apologised to the packed O2 Arena crowd in London.
“I hope you understand I wanted to come out personally and excuse myself for not playing ... I can’t compete without a back at this level,” Federer said.
"I did everything I could. I took pain-killers, had rest until the very end, but I just cannot compete at this level with Novak. At my age it would've been a risk," the second ranked player added.
Yesterday, the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles came from behind to defeat compatriot Stan Wawrinka in a physical semi-final. He won the match 4-6 7-5 7-6 (8-6) which lasted two hours and 48 minutes. But it proved a pyrrhic victory for the living legend.
Next week, Federer will join Wawrinka as Switzerland play France in the Davis Cup Final.
With Federer's retirement, Djokovic becomes the first player since Ivan Lendl (1985-87) to win three consecutive ATP Finals. He also becomes the first player to win five back-to-back Masters 1000 titles. The Serbian also extended his indoor hardcourt winning streak to 32.
The 27-year-old yesterday defeated Japanese Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals and a day earlier, secured the year-end world number one ranking for the third time in the last four seasons after dispatching Tomas Berdych, 6-2, 6-2.