Roger Federer's big decision shakes up US Open title fight

Roger Federer has shaken up his hard-court schedule as he begins his bid to end his 10-year title drought at the US Open.

The 36-year-old, whose last match was a shock five-set loss to Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, announced overnight that he had withdrawn from the Canadian Open in Toronto.

The decision reduces the 20-time major winner’s plans to just one warm-up tournament – the Cincinnati Masters – before the US Open in a return to the more compact August schedule that led to two finals in 2015.

Last year, Federer first played in Canada, losing the final, before taking two weeks off and eventually losing in the US Open quarter-finals.

“I’m so disappointed not to play at the Rogers Cup (in Toronto) this summer,” Federer said.

“I had a fantastic time in Montreal last year and always enjoy playing in front of the Canadian fans.

“But unfortunately with scheduling being the key to my longevity moving forward, I have regrettably decided to withdraw from Toronto this year.”

Federer’s decision comes as a mild surprise. Pic: Getty

The Toronto and Cincinnati tournaments run back-to-back across the first two weeks of August, with the US Open beginning on August 27 to end a busy month of action for the world’s best players.

Federer, who will celebrate his 37th birthday on August 8, is currently the only member of the top 20 to have pulled out of one of the two warm-up events.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic are among the players scheduled to appear at both tournaments.

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Federer has not won the US Open since 2008, when he took out the title for a fifth consecutive year.

The Swiss superstar will remain one of the favourites for the New York major, having reached the final in 2017 and won the Australian Open in 2017 and 2018.

He has won those titles in Melbourne the past two years despite only taking part in the exhibition Hopman Cup in the lead-up to the first major of the year.