AFTER three consecutive tournament exits against low-ranked opponents, Roger Federer pulled out of next week’s Rogers Cup without giving a reason last night.
The owner of a record 17 Grand Slam titles did recently complain about a bad back, however. Federer, who turns 32 next Thursday, made the unusual move of participating in a pair of minor clay-court tournaments in the period between playing on Wimbledon’s grass and shifting to the North American summer hard-court season.
A loss to 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round at the All England Club ended Federer’s streak of reaching the quarter-finals at 36 consecutive major tournaments. It also marked Federer’s earliest Grand Slam exit since 2003.
Missing Montreal limits his hard-court preparation for the US Open, the year’s last Grand Slam tournament, which begins on August 26.
“I am disappointed not to be playing in Montreal next week,” Federer said. He won the Rogers Cup when it was played in Toronto in 2004 and 2006. Federer lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2007 final at Montreal.
Federer’s withdrawal diminishes a Montreal field that was already missing No.8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In addition, the tournament announced that Viktor Troicki and Marin Cilic won’t compete. Troicki was suspended for 18 months by the International Tennis Federation for failing to provide blood for a drug test. He is appealing that ruling. Cilic pulled out of Wimbledon, citing an injury; he is reportedly facing a doping suspension, but the ITF has not confirmed or denied whether that is true.