Roger Federer to miss Rio Olympics

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(CNN) — Roger Federer has revealed he will miss next month’s Rio Olympics — and the rest of this season — in order to extend his tennis career.

The 34-year-old had hoped to represent Switzerland and win his first singles gold medal, but has taken medical advice to rest so he can properly recover from February’s knee surgery.

“The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury-free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover,” he said on his Facebook page Tuesday.

Federer had long been renowned for his lack of injuries, but back and knee problems have hampered the 17-time major winner in recent times.

The world No. 3 has played only seven tournaments in 2016, with his most recent appearance a semifinal defeat at Wimbledon this month.

“It is tough to miss the rest of the year,” he said. “However, the silver lining is that this experience has made me realize how lucky I’ve been throughout my career with few injuries.

“The love I have for tennis — the competition, tournaments and, of course, you the fans — remains intact.

“I am as motivated as ever and plan to put all my energy towards coming back strong, healthy and in shape to play attacking tennis in 2017.”

The Olympic tennis events have been squeezed into the middle of a heavy August schedule on the men’s and women’s tours, leading up to the U.S. Open at the end of that month. They will be played on fast hard-courts — not the clay of February’s Rio Open — so players do not have to adjust.

However, the Rio Games don’t offer valuable ranking points — which led to players such as French Open semifinalist Dominic Thiem, American world No. 16 John Isner and Spain’s No. 20 Feliciano Lopez favoring ATP Tour events instead.

Canada’s Milos Raonic, who lost the Wimbledon final after beating Federer, pulled out of Rio due to fears over the Zika virus — and was soon followed by fellow top-10 men’s player Tomas Berdych and women’s world No. 5 Simona Halep.

Former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, meanwhile, has pulled out of competition for the rest of this year as she is pregnant with her first child.

Serena Williams and Andy Murray are scheduled to defend their Olympic singles titles, with the Rio tournaments starting August 6 and culminating the following weekend.

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