Yes, tennis fans, that headline is sadly true – Roger Federer has had to withdraw from this year’s Dubai Tennis Championship.
The Swiss ace is a big crowd favourite in Dubai, and with good reason. He’s won the title here a record eight times, with last year’s win his 100th of his amazing career.
But Federer sadly announced that he was missing the next three months of action due to knee surgery.
“My right knee has been bothering me for a little while,” Roger said in a statement on Twitter. “I hoped it would go away but after an examination and discussion with my team, I have decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland yesterday. After the procedure, the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery.”
Toughest call to make
The 38-year-old will be sadly missed in Dubai, but there’s still a hugely impressive field including world No 1 Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gael Monfils.
But Dubai tournament director Salah Tahlak revealed that making the cancellation call was one of the hardest calls for Federer’s agent to make.
“Roger is special to Dubai and everyone here is always waiting for him to come and play here at our tournament. Tony [his agent] told me that informing us in Dubai was the toughest call he had made.”
The women’s semi-finals are currently in play, with the men’s matches due to start on Saturday, February 22.