Federer apologises for final anti-climax
The world No 2 sustained the damage during the deciding tie-break of his epic semi-final against Stan Wawrinka on Saturday night and felt unable to take to the court yesterday.
Federer’s withdrawal, which was announced to the crowd after the doubles final and shortly before the singles match was supposed to begin, handed Djokovic a third consecutive title.
Federer explained to the crowd in person that he was withdrawing, saying: “I tried everything I could last night and today – painkillers, rest – until the very end, but I can’t compete at this level with Novak.
“In a final like this and at my age, it would be too risky. I hope you understand.”
Federer did not leave the O2 Arena until the early hours of yesterday morning and fears about his fitness grew when he failed to show up for a scheduled practice session, not arriving at the venue until around 4pm.
Speaking later, the Swiss said: “It’s a very disappointing end to the season. I was playing so well here, had a great season so far. I was feeling great until yesterday’s tie-break. 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 I 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.”
Beverley’s Kyle Edmund had to settle for the runners-up spot at the Yokohama Challenger but is still set to break into the world’s top 200 for the first time. The 19-year-old, playing his first final on the second-tier tour, lost 6-4 6-4 to Australian John Millman.