Colourful Russian world number two Daniil Medvedev on Sunday backed Roger Federer to be winning Wimbledon “at 50” after the Swiss veteran pulled out of the French Open. Federer, the 20-time major winner, withdrew from the tournament despite having already reached the last 16. “We all know that a Grand Slam is still a goal for him. I think Wimbledon always is even when he will be 50 years old,” said Medvedev. “It’s a great chance for him. He wants to do his best to prepare.” Federer, who turns 40 in two months’ time, said he was withdrawing from Roland Garros, opting to focus on his primary objective of winning a ninth Wimbledon title.
“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,” he said.
Federer battled over three and a half hours until 12:45 Sunday morning to reach the last 16 with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win over 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer.
He was due back on court on Monday to tackle Matteo Berrettini for a place in the quarter-finals.
Medvedev said those criticising Federer for withdrawing after the match and not before which would have allowed a fit Koepfer to progress were mistaken.
“If Koepfer wants to be in the next round, sorry, he needed to beat Roger,” said Medevedev.
“It doesn’t matter if he retires after. That’s how tennis is, to be in the next round, you need to beat your opponent.”
“I don’t see why he should be criticised. At the same time I understand people who do it. Me, I won’t criticise him.”
Medvedev made the French Open quarter-finals for the first time and will tackle Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the last four.
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Medvedev, who had never won a match at Roland Garros before this year, defeated Cristian Garin of Chile 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 in his last 16 tie.
Tsitsipas, a semi-finalist in 2020, eased past Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.