Was his withdrawal from Roland Garros an unethical decision?
After playing a three-and-a-half-hour game against Dominick Koepfer in a late-night game against Philip Charier, Roger Federer worried fans during his post-match press conference when he told reporters he wasn’t sure about his next game. He mentioned that he would see how he felt and then decide if he would play Mateo Berrettini. Few expected Federer to retire from the tournament when he was playing so well and had such a good run. The next day the entire tennis world received shocking news. Federer announced his withdrawal from Roland Garros to avoid straining his knee too much for Wimbledon.
âAfter two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure that I don’t push myself too fast on the road to recovery,â said Federer. âI am delighted to have had 3 games under my belt. There is no better feeling than being back on the court.
This decision sparked much debate; many fans and analysts disagreed, saying using a grand slam for training and preparation was inappropriate. “You are not in a candy store, able to choose which matches you play, because your actions affect others and the tournament.” said Paul McNamee, the former Australian Open tournament director.
Federer’s decision, according to the majority of fans and analysts, was unethical and did not set a good example for the rest of the tour and the players. Federer made the strategic decision not to expand his physical capabilities too much and move on, as he was convinced he would have no chance of winning in Paris. This state of mind has alarmed everyone, as fans are not used to hearing the 20-time Grand Slam champion speak in this manner. Federer’s withdrawal and pre-tournament mindset was more likely predetermined by him and his team. He didn’t have to predict his progress in Week 2 of the tournament, but if he did, Federer had to decide to retire.
Logic and reasoning behind the decision
The logic and reasoning behind his decision makes sense as he doesn’t want to stress his knees too much after two surgeries and fourteen months of touring. The schedule didn’t help either, playing week two wouldn’t give him time to rest or play at Halle, his next tournament.
The French Open was the first grand slam he had played since the 2020 Australian Open where he lost in the semi-final to Novak Djokovic in straight sets. It was one of the most dramatic majors for Federer, saving seven match points against Tennys Sandgren in the quarter-finals. Federer has already arrived at Halle looking at his main goal: Wimbledon, which is probably his one and last chance to win a grand slam. Many tennis commentators have expressed their displeasure, saying Federer should at least be fined.
Many have drawn parallels to Naomi Osaka’s situation at Roland Garros, after the Japanese clashed with officials by refusing to press due to mental health issues, resulting in her withdrawal and a fine. of $ 15,000. That in itself sparked debate, but after Federer’s withdrawal it started to instill a sense of favoritism. In a press release, tournament director Guy Forget said he agreed with Federer’s decision.
“The Roland Garros tournament is sorry for the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who fought an incredible fight last night,” tournament director Guy Forget said in a statement. âWe were all delighted to see Roger again in Paris, where he played three high-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.
Conclusion and reflections
Unfortunately, this debate has grown in size, dividing the tennis world into two camps: those who support Federer’s decision and those who oppose it. It may appear that Federer’s decision was unethical and that a penalty should have been imposed to demonstrate equality, but Federer is nearing the end of his career and wants to give his all to earn another major before taking his retirement. A tactical approach is necessary, but not at the expense of tournament integrity. Instead of Roland Garros, one possible solution would have been to play Parma or Belgrade, or play the next game against Berrettini and go with the flow.
Unfortunately, there is hardly ever a right or wrong answer to such controversies; as fans we can only speculate on what might have been. It would be better if we all went to the next page. It is clear that Federer’s career is coming to an end; rather than criticize him, let’s enjoy and cherish the games and the time he has left on tour. We’ll probably end up regretting it if we don’t. Federer has had an almost perfect 25-year career in every way. It is best that we do not use this to cause more controversy in the sport.
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