Federer pulls out of Qatar Open


Roger Federer’s hopes of a fourth successive title came to a premature end when he withdrew from the Qatar Open with a bad back here Friday. The back spasms Federer felt during matches with Greg Zemlja and Andreas Seppi have not gone away despite treatment and painkillers, and he now feels the risk of compensatory injuries is now too great.
He has pulled out to give himself the best chance of appearing in good shape at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open, starting at Melbourne in ten days time. Federer was due to have met France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the number three seed, in the semi-finals. “I’m sorry for holding this press conference,” said Federer, who has been enjoying a 20-match unbeaten run.
“I hurt my back in my second round match (against Zemlja) and I don’t see any improvement today. “I’ve played through two matches in pain and don’t think it’s the right thing to risk anything more now. It’s the only right decision to make. “I’ve just been trying to manage the situation really. Back spasms happen and sometimes you can contain them with massage and pain killers. But I don’t want to drive myself crazy with more painkillers, and I need to do what’s right to get it better.”