Roger Federer has pulled out of an upcoming tennis tournament in Dubai after returning to action following a 13-month injury layoff.
The 20-time grand slam champion hadn’t played competitively in over a year after undergoing two knee surgeries in 2020 but won his comeback match against Dan Evans at the Qatar Open on Wednesday.
The 39-year-old was then beaten by Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili – 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 – in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Federer was due to continue his comeback at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on March 14 but says he’s withdrawn to focus on training.
“It’s been great to be back on the [ATP Tour], loved every minute playing in Doha once again,” he wrote on Twitter. “A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here.
“I’ve decided it’s best to go back to training and as a result, I’ve decided to withdraw from Dubai next week.”
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Focus on Wimbledon
Having initially earmarked a return for this year’s Australian Open, the Swiss superstar was forced to withdraw from the tournament late last year.
He has since switched his attention to Wimbledon and will play in events that prepare him for the grand slam in June.
Federer had previously decided not to defend his title at the Miami Open which is due to start on March 22.
On Monday, Novak Djokovic broke Federer’s all-time record for most weeks spent as the men’s world No.1.
The Serbian has now topped the ATP rankings for a combined 311 weeks, surpassing Federer’s tally of 310.
But Federer, who is no stranger to injury comebacks having recovered from a previous knee surgery in 2016 to win two grand slam titles, insists his career is far from over.
“I hope then, by Wimbledon, I’m going to be 100% and that’s when the season starts for me. Everything until then it’s just ‘Let’s see how it goes’,” he said earlier this month.
As it stands, Federer and Nadal share the men’s record for most career grand slam titles (20) with Djokovic just two behind.