Roger Federer announced Wednesday that he will miss the remainder of the 2020 ATP tennis season with a knee injury:
The 38-year-old veteran said he had a setback in his recovery that forced him to undergo a "quick arthroscopic procedure" on his right knee. Federer added that he is looking forward to the start of the 2021 season.
Play on the ATP tour has been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since 1945, while the French Open was moved from May to September.
Federer is one of the greatest tennis players of all time with 20 Grand Slam singles titles to his credit. Even as he approaches 39 years of age, Fed is still among the top players in the sport and a constant threat to win Grand Slams when healthy.
His most recent Grand Slam title came at the 2018 Australian Open, but Federer has reached a pair of Grand Slam semifinals and one final since then. At the 2020 Aussie Open—which remains the only Grand Slam tournament that has been played this year—Federer fell in the semis to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
Federer has dealt with some injuries in recent years and has opted to take time off in an effort to remain as fresh as possible. He didn't play the French Open in 2018 and took off the clay-court season from 2016-18 in order to give himself the best chance to compete at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
With Federer out of the picture for the remainder of 2020, it means there is one fewer top-tier player standing in the way of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal should the 2020 season resume at some point.
It could also provide an opportunity for someone else to step up and become a true Grand Slam title contender, such as Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Alexander Zverev—all of whom are 26 or younger and could be the future of tennis.
There remains a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the rest of the 2020 tennis season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so taking additional time away to heal properly is a logical move on Federer's part and one that could help him continue to be competitive on the big stage moving forward.