Roger Federer withdraws from the French Open on Sunday, citing his desire to win a record 21st Grand Slam championship at Wimbledon later this month.
“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery.
“I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court.”
Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion who will turn 40 in two months, defeated 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 in three and a half hours to reach the last 16 on Sunday morning.
In the fourth round, the 39-year-old was due to meet Matteo Berrettini of Italy.
He had previously stated that he was debating whether or not to compete in the second week of the claycourt Grand Slam because his season goal is Wimbledon, which begins on June 28.
“We go through these matches… we analyse them highly and look at what’s next and we’ll do the same tonight and tomorrow,” he said.
“The Roland Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night,” tournament director Guy Forget said in a statement.
“We were all delighted to see Roger back in Paris, where he played three high-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”
“I’m not bothered by the outcome of this match at all,” tweeted Britain’s Andy Murray, a former world number one and three-time major winner.
“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 love.”