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Will Roger Federer Win Another Grand Slam?

Roger Federer's withdrawal from the French Open ended an incredible run of playing in 65 consecutive grand slams, with the future of the 34-year-old Swiss now firmly in doubt.

A back complaint has been troubling Federer for a number of years, but he has usually opted to play through the pain - after all most top tennis players are usually carrying some form of injury.

But Federer pulled out, explaining in a Facebook post that it would be an "unnecessary risk" for him to play at Roland Garros, where he has featured every year since 1998 and won in 2009.

After winning 17 Grand Slam singles titles there is no doubt that Federer's reputation as one of the finest players of all time - if not the best of the lot - is already secured.

However, the 27-time Grand Slam finalist turns 35 in August and has to face the fact he is coming towards the end of his career.

His choice now is plain: retire while he is still rightly considered one of the best players in the world; or play on for as long as possible and risk sullying his reputation with increasingly poor performances on the big stage.

Fed's glorious forehand remains a work of art, but his footwork and mobility is beginning to let him down. He was given the runaround in embarrassing fashion by talented compatriot Dominic Thiem in his last game, a round-of-16 defeat at the Rome Masters, although Federer insisted he was using the match to test his fitness.

The statement released by Federer had a bullish tone, but perhaps it was telling that he chose to speak directly to his fans on social media rather than face the media at a press conference.

"This decision was not easy to make but I took it to ensure I could play the remainder of the season and help to extend the rest of my career," Federer wrote.

"I remain as motivated and excited as ever and my plan is to achieve the highest level of fitness before returning to the ATP World Tour for the grass-court season."

Federer has made it clear that his aim is to play on and he will be determined to feature at Wimbledon in June, where he has usually produced the best tennis of his career. He intends to play in a warm-up event in Stuttgart to judge his level of preparation.

A 10-time finalist at SW19, Federer has won Wimbledon seven times, although the last of those titles came four years ago.

All the evidence now seems to suggest Federer's days as a Grand Slam champion are over. He has been beaten in three finals since that last triumph at Wimbledon, all to Novak Djokovic, who has raced past Federer to become the undisputed world number one.

While Djokovic's relentless nature and fearsome will to win marks him out as an all-time great, the artistry Federer possesses means many will be hoping he can roll back the years at Wimbledon.

Federer is best-priced at 7/1 to win Wimbledon this year, but perhaps he can take inspiration from Andy Murray.

The Scottish world number two pulled out of the French Open three years ago due to a back problem and went on to record a famous win at the All England Club.

If Federer were to match Murray's success, it would be one of the great comebacks in the history of the sport - and the Swiss will certainly have the backing of the London crowd behind him.



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