• ATP World Tour Finals

Federer pulls out of London final with back injury

Nick Atkin at the O2 Arena
November 16, 2014
Roger Federer aggravated his back during his semi-final win against Stan Wawrinka © Getty Images

Roger Federer pulled out of Sunday's final at the O2 Arena with a back injury, handing Novak Djokovic his third consecutive World Tour Finals title.

Federer came out on court half an hour before the match was due to start and apologised to the crowd after revealing he was unable to play.

"I'm sorry I'm here in a tracksuit," said Federer, 33. "Unfortunately I'm not match fit to play the match tonight. I hope you understand. Clearly I wish it wasn't so. I didn't want it to end this way.

"I did everything I could. I took pain-killers, had rest until the very end, but I just cannot compete at this level with Novak. At my age it would have been a risk."

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Federer, who is due to play for Switzerland in next weekend's Davis Cup final against France, aggravated his back during the third-set tie-breaker of his semi-final win against Stan Wawrinka. The world No.2, who struggled with back problems in 2013, saved four match points before beating Wawrinka 4-6 7-5 7-6(6) in two hours and 48 minutes.

He did not finish his media duties after the win until 1am and reportedly did not leave his central London hotel until 3.30pm on Sunday, with the final due to start at 6pm, missing his scheduled afternoon practice session.

"It's a very disappointing end to the season," Federer added in his press conference. "I was playing so well here, had a great season so far. I was feeling great until yesterday's tie-breaker. I felt all of a sudden the back was feeling funny.

"I tried to have treatment on it, medication on it, just tried to turn around as quick as possible really, but didn't really feel that much of an improvement overnight.

"Then you don't have a day off or anything to work with, obviously it's not enough time to recover. The way I feel right now, there's no way I can compete at any level really.

Novak Djokovic came on court after Federer's withdrawal to lift the trophy © Getty Images

"So probably in a few days it's going to be better, but right now it's not good enough. Nevertheless, congratulations to Novak. That's how it goes. You have to put yourself in those positions. He's done that again. Congrats on world No.1, as well. He's had a terrific season."

Andy Murray stepped in to face Djokovic in an exhibition match, before partnering John McEnroe against Tim Henman and Pat Cash.

Djokovic collected his World Tour Finals trophy shortly before his match against Murray and expressed his regret that Federer had to pull out.

"During the doubles match, that's when I found out," Djokovic said in his press conference. "I did my warm-up, prepared for the battle, prepared for a great match as it was anticipated, as the people expected it to be. It was the last match of the season. I was ready to give it all. I'm sure he was ready, too, to give it all if he could.

"I spoke to him. As I understand, he retired a match maybe three times in his career in over a thousand matches. You cannot blame him. I'm sure he would play World Tour Finals if he could.

"This is probably the first time in the history that this happens. It's very awkward situation to talk about it, to be honest, today.

"You never like to win, especially these big matches against big rivals, with the retirement. But that's the way it is."

Roger Federer is confident he will be fit to play in the Davis Cup final © Getty Images
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