Cincinnati will be missing another tennis star when the Western & Southern Open 2021 begin on Monday, August 16. With the withdrawal of Roger Federer, the tournament won’t have any of the Big 3 members this year, as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal also retired from the competition.

Federer, who just turned 40 on August 8, has been struggling with injuries in his right knee since 2020. The tennis legend, the first man to win 20 Grand Slams, underwent two knee surgeries last year and returned to the circuit in March this year. 

The Swiss reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros 2021 and withdrew before his match against Matteo Berrettini due to physical problems. While at Wimbledon 2021, he also reached the quarterfinals but lost in three straight sets against Hubert Hurkacz. Then, he withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics. Here, check out why Federer isn’t returning to the tour for what is left of 2021. 

Why isn’t Roger Federer playing at the Western & Southern Open? 

Federer explained on Saturday, August 15, that he has to undergo another knee surgery as he experienced a setback in his recovery during the grass season. The Swiss said in a video posted in his Instagram account that he “hurted” himself further during Wimbledon and now he will have to be out of competition for “many months.”

“I’ve been doing a lot of checks with the doctors as well on my knee, getting all the information as I hurt myself further during the grass-court season and Wimbledon,” Federer said in a video. “That’s just not the way to go forward, so unfortunately they told me for the medium to long term to feel better, I will need surgery. I decided to do it."

“I’ll be on crutches for many weeks and also out of the game for many months, so it’s going to be difficult of course in some ways, but at the same time I know it’s the right thing to do because I want to be healthy, I want to be running around later as well again and I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form."

However, Federer said that he is “realistic” about how difficult his situation is right now. “I will go through the rehab process I think also with a goal while I’m still active, which I think is going to help me during this long period of time,” he concluded before thanking his fans for the support.