Roger Federer has 'earned the right to do whatever he wants' according to Chris Evert, who has defended him over his French Open withdrawal.
Federer, playing his first Grand Slam for nearly 500 days, had been impressing in Paris and earned a spot in the fourth round on Saturday when he beat Dominik Koepfer.
However, shortly after the match he hinted that he would remove himself from the competition, and sure enough the news broke on Sunday that he was withdrawing due to concerns over the impact more matches might have on his recovery from knee surgery.
It is a decision that some fans have criticised, but Eurosport analyst and Grand Slam legend Chris Evert has come out strongly in defence of Federer.
"I that Roger has earned the right to do anything he wants in tennis right now," Eurosport analyst Chris Evert said.
"He has played three matches and last night was a very long match. He said I am going to see how my body feels, he’s 39 years old, he went into this tournament for practice matches and I think he surprised himself how well he did.
"I honestly don’t think he expected to get to the second week.
"Wimbledon is his dream, that’s the golden tournament for him and that’s where his game with the less rallies, more about serving, quicker points, and that’s truly what his goal is.
"He should be excused for any withdrawal he has."
Evert is far from alone in her defence of Federer, with Boris Becker telling Eurosport that while 'any other player' would be criticised, Federer should not be.
"The long match against Dominik Koepfer was borderline for Roger. He hadn't played a big tournament for a long time, let alone over five sets on clay.
"About any other player you would have said, 'How can he just throw Koepfer out and then quit?'
"But Roger has earned that nimbus, he is perhaps the most beloved player of all time.
"He pointed out to us at the press conference that there's a good chance he won't be able to continue playing. I think that's fair."
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