Federer is still firmly in control of the No. 3 ATP Ranking, and leaving Italy with 5,950 points, he is guaranteed to be seeded third at Roland Garros, where he will compete for the first time since 2015.
“I am disappointed that I will not be able to compete today. I am not 100 per cent physically and after consultation with my team, it was determined that I not play. Rome has always been one of my favourite cities to visit, and I hope to be back next year,” Federer said in a statement.
Regardless of anyone else’s results at the Foro Italico, Federer will take a 1,105-point lead over World No. 4 Dominic Thiem into the second Grand Slam championship of the season. The last time the 2009 champion competed on Paris’ terre battue, Federer was seeded second and reached the quarter-finals.
Federer will be in good position to maintain his spot in the ATP Rankings through Roland Garros, too. Since Thiem reached the final last year to earn 1,200 points, the most the Austrian could gain by lifting the trophy is an additional 800 points, which would not be enough to pass Federer.
Depending on Stefanos Tsitsipas’ results in Rome, the #NextGenATP Greek could still have a small chance at surpassing Federer in Paris. But the Swiss holds a firm grasp of World No. 3, and since he did not play the tournament last year, he is not defending any points.
Furthermore, Federer will have a chance at returning to the No. 2 spot. If Rafael Nadal lifts his ninth trophy in Rome, the Spaniard will enter Roland Garros with 7,945 points. But Nadal is the defending Roland Garros champion, so he will drop 2,000 points. Therefore, if Federer outperforms Nadal in Paris, the Swiss will earn World No. 2.
Federer has shown signs of good form during his return to clay this year. At the Mutua Madrid Open, he reached the quarter-finals and held two match points against Thiem before succumbing in three sets. Federer saved two match points Thursday evening in Rome against Borna Coric to reach the last eight before withdrawing.