You always got the sense that Roger Federer was going to choose either Toronto or Cincinnati – but not both – as hard-court prep leading into the US Open.
Given Cincinnati is closer to the main event, a week later than the Rogers Cup, it seemed to have the edge.
And so it is, as Rogers Cup tournament director Karl Hale announced Monday that the world No. 2 won’t be hitting Toronto this summer. And that also means that Federer won’t, as he has some years, be celebrating his birthday in Canada.
Federer reached the final in Montreal last year, losing to Alexander Zverev. He then skipped the other Masters 1000 summer event in Cincinnati, as it was clear in Montreal that his back was acting up on him.
Here’s the official press-release quote from Federer.
“I’m so disappointed not to play at the Rogers Cup this summer. I had a fantastic time in Montreal last year and always enjoy playing in front of the Canadian fans, but unfortunately with scheduling being the key to my longevity moving forward, I have regrettably decided to withdraw from Toronto this year. I wish the tournament every success and am sorry to miss it.”
Federer was a faithful visitor to Canada earlier in his career. From 2002 through 2011, he played 10 out of 11 times.
But in recent years, not so much. Since then, he played in Toronto in 2014 and last year in Montreal, losing in the final both times. He has won the tournament just twice – both times in Toronto – in 2004 and 2006.
He played Cincinnati every single year from 2002 through 2015. But he hasn’t been back since.
Everyone else on board so far
So far, Federer is the only top-20 player who won’t make the date for the tournament, which takes place Aug. 4-12.
As well, the tournament confirmed that top Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who reached the semifinals a year ago in Montreal, will headline the Tuesday night session.
No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal, who is still on board to play, will make his debut Wednesday night.
With Federer’s withdrawal, his friend Jérémy Chardy will get a spot in the main draw.
The draw will be made in downtown Toronto on Friday. Aug. 3.