Roger Federer said he is undecided whether to continue playing at the French Open after a tiring battle against Dominik Koepfer that lasted well beyond midnight.
Federer, two months shy of his 40th birthday, defeated the 59-ranked German 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 to enter the fourth round of Roland Garros.
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“I don’t know if I am going to play,” said Federer whose match lasted three hours and 39 minutes and ended just before 12:45 on Sunday morning.
Im not bothered by the outcome of this match at all. Just seeing Federer at 39 off the back of 2 knee surgeries playing to an empty stadium at 12.30am getting fired up is inspirational to me. Do what you ❤️
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) June 5, 2021
“I have to decide whether or not to continue playing. Is it too risky to keep putting pressure on the knee? Is it a good time to rest?”
Federer had undergone two knee surgeries in 2020 and had played just three matches, in two tournaments, before entering the claycourt Grand Slam.
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“Every match I have to reassess the situation and see the next morning in what state I wake up and how my knee is doing,” added Federer.
The 20-time major champion advanced to the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the 68th time, and extended his all-time record for most Round of 16 appearances at the Grand Slams.
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“For me to go out tonight, sure, it wasn’t easy,” Federer said.
“It was a lot of premiers for me: Playing against Koep for first night session here in Paris, first time no fans in a long, long time, or ever in my career. That was definitely very unique in many ways, and I’m happy I found a way.”
That winning feeling 🙌
🎥: @rolandgarros | @rogerfederer pic.twitter.com/tcqcElxcYk
— ATP Tour (@atptour) June 5, 2021
Federer has been tested throughout the fortnight with wins over Denis Istomin and Marin Cilic. But Koepfer, with his go-for-broke game kept Federer on the knife-edge for most part of the match.
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“I wasn’t sure after the second set how much was left in the tank, so it was a good battle until then,” Federer said.
“I thought [this win] was very important for me. I clearly hadn’t practiced three hours [and] 35 [minutes], because that’s obviously always pushing it. I pushed as much as I could, as we thought reasonable.
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“But this today was I think a huge step forward for the team, and for all of us.”
Despite the great effort, Federer might consider withdrawing before his fourth-round clash against big-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini.
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The 20-time Grand Slam title winner has always said Wimbledon is his priority this year. He is chasing a ninth title at the All England Club where the action starts on June 28.
He is also scheduled to play the warm-up grass court tournament in Halle beginning on June 14, the day after the French Open ends.