Patrick McEnroe on Roger Federer’s French Open withdrawal: ‘I don’t like it. It’s not a tune-up tournament’

Roger Federer taking a breather

He understands the reasoning behind it, but Patrick McEnroe has voiced his disapproval of Roger Federer’s decision to withdraw from the French Open.

After coming through a taxing three-hour and 35 minute third-round clash against Dominik Koepfer at Roland Garros, Federer announced after the match that he could pull out of tournament as it is was only a stepping stone to Wimbledon.

And on Sunday the 39-year-old confirmed his withdrawal, stating: “After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery.”

‘It’s important that I listen to my body,’ says Roger Federer as he confirms French Open withdrawal

Most pundits have backed Federer’s decision, but former doubles Grand Slam champion McEnroe says he “doesn’t like it”.

In a video on Twitter he said: “So Roger Federer is out of the French Open after his three and a half hour win over Dominik Koepfer. Tough match, a grinding match ended after midnight in Paris. Federer hinted right after the match that he might not play that fourth-round against Berrettini, confirmed today when he pulled out.

“I understand it, but I don’t like it. You know, everyone out there, how much I respect Roger Federer.

“But, to me, he shouldn’t have shown up for the tournament if you knew that this was a strong likelihood, which it sounds like he knew it was going in.

“That being said, he looked very good. He set himself up I believe for a good run at Wimbledon, so you could say ‘well, that’s what it’s all about’.

“I get that. But this is a Major, it’s not a tune-up tournament, it’s the French Open.

“I hope that Federer comes back next year and can play in front of a full audience as no one wants to see him or Rafa [Nadal] or Novak [Djokovic] when they’re done go out with a few people in the stands.

“I understand it, I get it, I still don’t like it. That’s just the way it is, that’s how I feel.

“I hope Roger is ready for the grass. I think he will be and after seeing him at the French Open in these four matches, he is a legitimate threat again to win Wimbledon. Djokovic will be the favourite, Federer second or third.”

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