That said, I’ve felt for sometime that Roger was putting himself under unnecessary pressure by opting to compete in Stockholm, and so it’s no surprise to see him pull out.
But it did surprise me a little that he appears to have listened to the advice of many Federer fans, and has decided to take an extended break. Here’s the statement from his website
"2008 has been a tough year for me as I was always playing catch up after being diagnosed with mononucleosis at the beginning of the year. I feel fortunate to be healthy again, but I want to remain at the top of the game for many more years to come and go after the #1 ranking again.
In order to do that, I need to get a proper rest and get strong again so that I am 100% fit for the remainder of the year or next year. At this point, I am not sure when I will be ready to play again, but I hope to be back at some point before the end of the year.
I apologize to the tennis fans in Sweden as I was looking forward to playing in Stockholm again. The country has produced so many incredible tennis players and the tournament has such a great history. I hope to be able to come back at some point in the future."
You wouldn’t expect anything else, but good to see the explicit statement of intent about staying on top and regaining No 1. Like Roger I still think that’s possible but when it comes down to it Slams are now more important than the ranking, and this break will give him the best possible preparation for the best possible way to start 2009 - winning the Aussie Open and equalling Pete's record...