Swiss tennis great Roger Federer on Monday announced that he will be skipping the 2017 French Open, disappointing legions of fans who had been expecting him to make a deep run after enjoying a stellar start to the year.

“I've decided not to participate in the French Open,” the 18-time winner said. 

Federer, who won the Australian Open earlier in 2017 before going on to clinch the Miami Masters and the Indian Wells Open, had wowed even the most ardent of his fans with a resurgence unlike any other at 35. 

He already missed key warm-up tournaments prior to the French Open such as the Monte Carlo Masters, the Madrid Masters and the ongoing Rome Masters as well, which had given a hint that perhaps Federer would be missing Roland Garros but it was confirmed officially on Monday.

“I've been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it's best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons,” the Basel-born Federer added.

And perhaps his advancing age has been a telling factor in his decision to skip the Slam he won in 2009, as he added, “The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognise that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward. Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season. I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year.”