Record streak ends for Federer

The last time the 17-time Grand Slam champion was absent from a Grand Slam was at the 1999 US Open.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Federer, with his 35th birthday looming in August, has played only four tournaments this year.

Roger Federer's remarkable streak of 65 consecutive Grand Slam appearances came to an end after the maestro withdrew from the French Open on Thursday with a back injury.

The 34-year-old Federer last missed a Grand Slam at the US Open 1999.

Since then, he has been part of a record 65 straight Grand Slam tournaments, yielding 17 titles and truly establishing himself as a tennis legend.

But the world's third ranked player insisted that his career is not facing its endgame. 

The former number one player in the world, who has been plagued by knee and back injuries has only played in four tournaments this year.

After losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals, he underwent knee surgery in February, his first such operation, after injuring himself while giving his children a bath. 

He missed the US hardcourt swing before returning to action at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.

Back pain then forced him to sit out for Madrid before he lasted just two matches at the Rome Masters where he was beaten by Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem.

Despite Thursday's decision, Federer insists he will keep playing and will concentrate on preparing for the grass court season and a fresh bid to win an eighth Wimbledon, the scene of his most recent Grand Slam triumph in 2012.

The player, who'll turn 35 this year, also intends to compete at the Rio Olympics in August.

"This decision was not easy to make, but I took it to ensure I could play the remainder of the season and help to extend the rest of my career," the Swiss veteran added in his statement.

"I remain as motivated and excited as ever and my plan is to achieve the highest level of fitness before returning to the ATP World Tour for the upcoming grass court season."

"I am sorry for my fans in Paris but I very much look forward to returning to Roland Garros in 2017."

TRTWorld and agencies