Roger Federer’s ailing back prevented the Swiss from playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals yesterday in Doha. Federer met the media and revealed the back injury is serious, but one that he hopes will be OK within a week.
Federer, who has never retired from a match and only twice withdrawn before a match, say’s the injury is muscular in nature. Roger’s had back injuries before so he knows the protocol, but with so little time to prepare for the Australian Open in 10 days he cautious about the method of treatments.
In the video above, a disappointed the Doha defending champion Federer took the time to tell the crowd himself that because of the injury he would not be able to play. A “class act” as Robbie Koenig said.
THE MODERATOR: Unfortunately Roger will not be able to play today’s match. It’s only the second time in close to a thousand matches that he’s had to withdraw.
ROGER FEDERER: Sorry for holding a press conference before the match has even been played, but I hurt my back in my second‑round match against Zemlja and just got a little bit better for the match against Seppi.
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. I still have pain, and that’s why it was the only right decision, a difficult one for me, because like Martin said, it’s only the second time in my life that I have pulled out of a tournament. I’ve never pulled out during a match.
Yeah, so it’s a sad moment for me and for the tournament and for the fans, but health goes first, like everybody knows, unfortunately, and I hope I can recover quickly. So that’s No. 1 on the agenda right now.
Q. What do you think the problem is with the back? Is it muscular or a disk?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I think it’s muscular. It came throughout two points against Zemlja in the beginning, 2‑1 in the first set, and then I wasn’t able to serve properly anymore. Had the same thing yesterday. I was really playing, you know, with the hand brake on, and I was just trying to manage the situation, really.
So it wasn’t very easy to deal with, but it was like a back spasm that came on, which happens often, but it happens once in a while, and you can just get through it sometimes if you have a couple of days off here or a day where you can work a lot with painkillers.
But I don’t have any days off. I can’t pump myself crazy with painkillers ‑ I don’t want to do that ‑ and this is why, the only decision I can take right now.
Q. What treatment are you having? Are you having massage or…
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, massage, stretching, a lot of back exercises to keep it warm and keep it strong, and hot showers, baths. I’ve tried everything over the last couple of days.
It’s helped a little bit but not enough to win this tournament; that’s for sure.
Q. Will you fly out straightaway or stay for a little while or what?
ROGER FEDERER: I was always going to stay till tomorrow night, regardless if I was going to lose first round or win the tournament, so those plans don’t change.
I will leave tomorrow night and do what the tournament would like me to do, media like now. I think I’m going to say something on the court later on, and I might be back again tomorrow for the 20th anniversary for the former champions.
I’m here, anyway. So I’m happy to help the tournament.
Q. Of course it’s guesswork, but can you say anything about how optimistic you are about being fit for Australia?
ROGER FEDERER: For Australia I’m optimistic, just because it’s not very good but it isn’t crazy bad. I have had bad backs in the past. This is definitely not very good; otherwise I would be playing.
But I feel without play and the right treatment, I will get through it in the next few days. That’s my personal opinion right now. But then of course I have a long journey in front of me going to Australia, but I hope maybe midweek next week I should be 100% again, but that’s just guessing right now. We’ll see how it goes.
Q. Other than that, you’ve been in pretty good shape, haven’t you? Other than the back problem, you’ve been in pretty good shape?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, the rest has been good. Yeah, yeah. It’s been really just the back now.
The problem is also I don’t want to, because you’re, how do you say, you’re trying to protect the back, you might, you know, tweak something else, compensate and all that stuff. It’s very dangerous. That’s why I’ve already played two matches in pain now, and it just gets a bit too much to the body.
Q. You probably addressed this a little bit earlier. In terms of the Australian, any sense on whether this could affect you playing in that tournament, or do you have any idea how serious this injury is?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I just answered it. Can you read the transcript? Do you mind? Thank you.
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