Other than a blazing semifinals run at Wimbledon earlier this month, No. 3 Roger Federer hasn’t enjoyed a very successful 2016 season. The 34-year-old Swiss has gone a, by his standards, subpar 21-7 over seven ATP tournaments and has yet to claim one title.
However, Federer, despite knee and back injuries that have limited his graceful style and consistent durability, will compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio as a member of Switzerland’s 109-athlete squad.
The defending silver medalist from 2012’s games in London, Federer gave every indication that he’s taking this year’s global competition quite seriously by pulling out of the Rogers Cup in Toronto. No. 2 Andy Murray, who’s the defending Olympic champion after defeating Federer four years ago, as well as No. 4 Rafael Nadal have also pulled out of the tournament.
Federer’s won the Canadian competition twice and appeared in three finals, but said he needs time to heal after Wimbledon.
“Toronto is one of my favourite events on the calendar and I am disappointed that I won’t be able to compete in front of the great tennis fans in Canada,” Federer announced on his Facebook page Tuesday. “Looking ahead, it is best for me that I take more time after Wimbledon. I look forward to coming back to Canada next year and I wish Karl Hale and everyone at Tennis Canada a very successful tournament.”
Indeed, the 17-time major winner has every reason to conserve energy and his legs after a thrilling Wimbledon performance. Even if it didn’t result in his eighth title at the All England Club, Federer managed to silence the home crowd by taking down upstart Briton Marcus Willis in the second round and then knocked back No. 29 ranked American Steve Johnson, and No. 13 Marin Cilic before succumbing to No. 7 Milos Raonic over five grueling sets.
Federer would drop the first set, but recover by taking the next two, only to drop the final two stanzas and missed the championship match for the first time since 2013. Federer had made the last two finals but lost to No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
As part of the largest Swiss team since the 1996 Atlanta games, Federer will take part in the fifth games of his career, and will once again team up with compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the doubles competition. The pair claimed gold at the 2008 Beijing games.