One of the big stories so far going into this year's French Open is Roger Federer's announcement that he will not, after all, play the second major of 2017. On the one hand this was a surprise, as he had been planning to play, and per twitter sources had gone to Zurich to begin his clay warmup. After a couple days of practice, however, he and his team made the difficult decision to skip the event and focus on grass and hard courts.
I saw a lot of very sad and upset reactions on twitter after the news broke. In my mind, however, the fact that he went to Switzerland, practiced on clay, obviously with the intention to play, and then made that choice means that he didn't feel like it was a wise decision for his body to take the risk of playing. I said much of this on twitter already, but for me I would much rather be missing him for a couple more weeks rather than have him play if he doesn't feel that's best for him and then have him end up getting injured. He has proven over and over that he knows what he's doing and that we can completely trust him to make wise decisions. The ultimate reason he's doing it is to prolong his career hopefully for "many years to come." I think all Federer fans will agree that this is what we really want to see. Roger is always looking ahead at the longterm and this is what we need to do also.
I've seen some who are concerned that he's setting himself up for disappointment in the grass season by putting so much focus on it. Well, that could happen, and of course that would be sad, but do you know what? We got #18 when we totally didn't expect it, plus the Sunshine Double! So much joy in those three months. We need to revel in the highs, when lows come accept it, and wait for the moments of joy again. He can't do everything anymore!
One thought that came to my mind as I processed all of this was what happened in Dubai this year. That was a surprise loss to a low ranked player that no one was expecting after his success in Australia. But I had a feeling after that loss that it was going to pay off for him, and look what ended up happening in Indian Wells and Miami. I can't imagine he would have had those results if he had ended up playing all week in Dubai.
So to sum it up, look at the longterm, realize he can no longer do everything, look forward to what will hopefully be a great summer and fall for him, but without expectations of what he "has to" achieve. Let's enjoy what he is still able to give us at this point in his amazing career, hopefully for several years to come.