Roger Federer stuns tennis world with surgery bombshell

Roger Federer has announced he will miss this year's French Open after undergoing knee surgery.

The 20-time grand slam champion went under the knife in Switzerland on Tuesday and will not return to action until the grass-court season at the earliest.

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Federer, 38, wrote on Twitter: "My right knee has been bothering me for a little while.

"I hoped it would go away, but after an examination, and discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland yesterday."

Roger Federer speaks to the media at the Australian Open in January. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

Federer, who won his solitary Roland Garros title in 2009, withdrew from the tournament in 2016 through injury and then opted to miss the clay-court season in both 2017 and 2018.

He returned last year, losing to 12-time winner Rafael Nadal in straight-sets in the semi-finals, and intended to compete again this year.

However, the world No.3 added: "After the procedure, the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery.

"As a result, I will unfortunately have to miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogota, Miami and the French Open.

"I am grateful for everyone's support. I can't wait to be back playing again soon, see you on the grass."

Federer targets Wimbledon return

Federer has been cutting down his tournament appearances in recent years in a bid to prolong his career.

He arrived at last month's Australian Open having not played a competitive match since the ATP Finals in London in November but still reached the last four, where he was beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

The Swiss great will hope to have fully recovered in time for Wimbledon in June, where he will bid to add to his record eight titles.

He also plans to play at the Olympics in Tokyo a few weeks later.

His last appearance on a court was an exhibition event in Cape Town earlier this month where his charity match with Nadal was played in front of 50,000 spectators, a world record for a tennis event.

This year's Wimbledon runs from June 29-July 12 with the Tokyo Olympics tennis event following from July 25-August 2.

Federer has yet to win a singles gold medal at the Games.

He was a silver medallist in London 2012 while, four years earlier in Beijing, he won the doubles title with Swiss teammate Stan Wawrinka.

Roger Federer in action at the Australian Open in January. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Tennis world in shock over Federer bombshell

Federer's decision to skip the French Open was met with understanding by organisers.

"We are disappointed not to see Roger again," tournament director Guy Forget told France Info.

"If he had taken this decision, then it was the wisest."

Russian World No.5 Daniil Medvedev said it was sad to see Federer forced to sit out the US hardcourt and European clay court seasons.

"The news shocked me. I didn't know he was going to have an operation," said Medvedev who is the top seed at the ongoing Marseille ATP event this week.

"It's a little sad for him in the sense that he misses tournaments when he is still playing well. I'm sure he's going to come back well at the grass court season.

Fellow veteran Gilles Simon, who played Federer for the first time 12 years ago, said the great Swiss will be a serious contender on his return.

"The last time it was hard but he still won the Australian Open in his stride after not playing for nine months!" said the 35-year-old Simon.

"There's nothing else to say. We'll wait and see."

with agencies