qatar tennis

Roger Federer Withdraws from Qatar with Back Injury

Roger Federer was forced to pull-out of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Friday due to a back injury he sustained in his quarter-final match against Andreas Seppi the day before.

Federer was supposed to play against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France for a spot in the finals but recognized the possibility to further aggravate the injury and made the decision to prevent missing the Australian Open which begins January 16th.

Federer has made it a point of avoiding injury for the better part of his stellar professional career, but something was clearly wrong as he was stretched to three sets against the 38th ranked Seppi on Thursday. Federer had held a 7-0 career head-to-head against the Italian prior to the match and had never lost a set in any of those encounters.

It was Swiss journalist and Federer biographer, Renee Stauffer, who broke the news of the back injury via twitter shortly after that match.

Stauffer’s tweet read as follows, “Federer has a bad back: ‘I wasn’t sure if i was going to play ag Seppi’, he revealed in Doha. It happened ag Zemlja (Wednesday).”

The injury withdrawal is only the second time Federer has had to do so in his career but fans should not worry as the world No. 3 seemed pretty confident he would be fine for Melbourne with a little time-off to heal.

“I don’t feel a whole lot of improvement for today, and I just don’t think it’s the right time to risk anything more right now,” Federer said. “I still have pain, and that’s why it was the only right decision, a difficult one for me … So it’s a sad moment for me and for the tournament and for the fans, but health goes first.”

Instead of the semi-final, Tsonga played a one-set exhibition match against former world No. one and six-time Grand Slam champion Stefan Edberg.

Rafael Nadal will play against Gael Monfils later in the day for a chance to play against Tsonga for the title.

Federer’s withdrawal guarantees a new champion in Doha this year, as the Swiss star had won the event a year ago.