World number two Roger Federer withdrew ahead of the championship match at the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Sunday after citing back injury as the cause. The six-time former champion at this prestigious year-end event personally went to the venue to make the announcement to the fans after the doubles trophy ceremony. This effectively made Novak Djokovic the champion in London for the third straight year.
In lieu of the title match, Andy Murray stepped in and played against now-title holder Novak Djokovic in a one set match which the latter won 8-5. Murray then teamed up with John McEnroe in a doubles match to defeat Pat Cash and Tim Henman 8-6.
“Unfortunately, I’m not match fit to play the match tonight,” said Federer on court. “Clearly I wish it wasn’t so. I tried all year to be ready for the [Barclays] ATP World Tour Finals, and I didn’t want it to end this way. I tried everything I could last night, also today – painkillers, treatment, rest, so forth, warm-up, until the very end – but I just can’t compete at this level with Novak. It would be too risky at my age to do this right now and I hope you understand.
“I wanted to come out personally and excuse myself. It’s been a great week for me. I played some great tennis and I love coming to The O2 and to London, and there’s been so many great memories for me here. Congrats of course to Novak, who’s played an amazing season, and an amazing tournament here as well. I hope we can play some more great matches, hopefully next year.
“Thanks to all you guys for making it special to come out and play tennis all around the world. I know you guys travel, as well, and spend a lot of money on tickets and so forth. We really, really appreciate it – me in particular. It keeps me going, it makes me tick, especially at this age. Hopefully, I can come back next year and get another chance to compete for the title here. So thank you very much and I’ll see you soon. I appreciate it.”
This is only the third time in Roger Federer’s incredible career where he was forced to withdraw – all of these due to back injuries. The first one was back at the 2008 Paris Masters quarterfinals vs James Black and 2012 Doha Semifinals versus Jo-Wilfried tsonga.
Djokovic became the third player to win three consecutive ATP World Tour Finals since Ivan Lendl achieved the feat from 1985-1987. The only other player to achieve this was Ilie Nastase from 1971 to 1973.
As for the ticket holders, they will be contacted in the next 48 hours from authorized ticket sellers where they purchased the tickets.