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September 24, 2011

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Injured Federer pulls out of the Shanghai Masters

TENNIS star Roger Federer, a record 16-time grand slam winner, has pulled out of next month's ATP 1000 Shanghai Rolex Masters, tournament organizers said yesterday.

"After consultation with my team, I've unfortunately decided to pull out of the Shanghai Rolex Masters in order to take some necessary time to rest and recuperate after a long summer," Federer said.

"I have some nagging injuries that I need to address and I look forward to returning to the ATP World Tour as soon as possible," he said.

It is the second time the Swiss player, currently ranked world No. 3, had pulled out of the tournament. He withdrew in 2009 due to injuries.

The Association of Tennis Professionals had approved Federer's decision, said the organizers of the Shanghai tournament to be held from October 9 to 16.

Federer, 30, won the Masters Cup in Shanghai in 2006 and 2007 and was runner-up last year after he lost to Scotland's Andy Murray.

"I have very fond memories of Shanghai so I will miss this amazing tournament and all my loyal Chinese fans, but I look forward to returning to China next fall," Federer said.

Federer has also quit the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo, Japan, which is due to take place one week ahead of the Shanghai Masters.

There has been speculation that Federer's decision is connected to the tight competition schedule.

Federer had only a few days to rest after the US Open before taking part in the Davis Cup last week in Australia.

Earlier this week, Murray said the world's leading players could strike unless officials heed calls to improve the crammed tennis calendar.

He told the BBC it was possible that players would discuss strike action when they meet up for the Shanghai Masters.

"I know from speaking to some players they're not afraid of doing that," he said.

For years, athletes such as 10-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal have complained about their punishing schedule with the top players required to compete in all the four grand slams, eight Masters 1000 events, the World Tour Finals and a handful of lower-tier tournaments.

Matters came to a head during the US Open when bad weather forced players in the bottom half of the draw, which featured both Nadal and Murray, to play three singles matches in three days just to reach the semifinals.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who injured his back during last week's Davis Cup, also complained about the tight schedule.

But he has confirmed his participation in the China Open in Beijing from October 3 to 9 and the Shanghai Masters.

Last year, ATP chief Adam Helfant announced the season was to be trimmed by two weeks and a seven-week off-season will be in place from 2012 but the number of events would remain the same.


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