Roger Federer
Roger Federer has played seven tournaments in 2018. In this picture, Federer of Switzerland talks to the media at a press conference after losing his Men's Singles Quarter-Finals match against Kevin Anderson of South Africa on day nine of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2018 in London. Pool/Getty Images

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Rogers Cup in Montreal as part of his plan to play a limited schedule and prolong his career. The Swiss ace made it clear when he returned from injury at the start of the 2017 campaign that he will play a limited schedule with fitness being his main priority rather than chasing titles.

Federer controversially decided to skip the entirety of the clay court season in 2017 and 2018 in order to focus on the grass court and hard court events. The decision did not go down well with a number of tournament organizers and former players, but the Swiss legend is keen to remain in peak physical condition for his preferred tournaments — mainly the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open.

The 36-year-old has played seven tournaments thus far this season, winning three titles. Federer won the Australian Open in January to make it 20 men’s singles Grand Slam titles, and then went on to win the Rotterdam Open to become the oldest number one in ATP history. The Stuttgart Open title followed in his first grass court event of the season.

Federer lost in the final of the Indian Wells Masters and was beaten in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon – a tournament in which he was the overwhelming favorite to win. He admitted after his exit at the All England Club that he was suffering from fatigue. The Swiss maestro apologized to the Canadian fans for his last minute withdrawal, but admitted scheduling remains key to ensure he prolongs his illustrious career.

“I’m so disappointed not to play at the Rogers Cup this summer,” Federer said after confirming his exit from the Rogers Cup, as per Tennis World USA. “I had a fantastic time in Montreal last year and always enjoy playing in front of the Canadian fans, but unfortunately with scheduling being the key to my longevity moving forward, I have regrettably decided to withdraw from Toronto this year. I wish the tournament every success and am sorry to miss it.”

Federer, who was a losing finalist at the Rogers Cup in 2017, will fall further behind world number one Rafael Nadal in the ATP men’s singles ranking. The Swiss ace is currently ranked number two – 2,230 points behind.

The Swiss ace is likely to return to action at the Cincinnati Masters that begins Aug. 12 as part of his preparation for the final Grand Slam of the year — the US Open — that gets underway Aug. 27 at Flushing Meadows, New York.

Federer’s withdrawal from the Rogers Cup that begins Aug. 4 is unlikely to harm the organizers too much, as nine of the top-10 ranked men’s singles players are expected to participate, which includes Nadal and reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.