Roger Federer to miss first Grand Slam in 17 years as he pulls out of French Open

Updated: May 19, 2016

This year’s French Open will be without one of it’s prized assets as former champion Roger Federer has withdrawn from the tournament.

The 2009 winner announced on Thursday afternoon that he won’t be participating at Roland Garros after struggling with a nagging back complaint.

The Swiss’ absence from the Grand Slam of the season means it’s the first time this millennium that he won’t be competing at one of tennis’ major tournaments.

Not since the US Open of 1999 has he missed one, but a nagging back complaint – coming after minor knee surgery in February has brought an end to his 17-year streak spanning 65 successive Grand Slam appearances.

‘I regret to announce that I have made the decision not to play in this year’s French Open,’ the 24-year-old wrote on his Facebook page.

‘I have been making steady progress with my overall fitness, but I am still not 100% and feel I might be taking an unnecessary risk by playing in this event before I am really ready.

‘This decision was not easy to make, but I took it to ensure I could play the remainder of the season and help to extend the rest of my career.’

The French Open starts in Paris on Sunday.

With Federer’s advancing years, speculation has started as to when he will call time on his career.

But he seemingly has no plans to go anywhere yet, adding: ‘I remain as motivated and excited as ever and my plan is to achieve the highest level of fitness before returning to the ATP World Tour for the upcoming grass court season.

‘I am sorry for my fans in Paris but I very much look forward to returning to Roland Garros in 2017.’

By Luke Augustus

This image was provided by Marianne Bevis.

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