Federer withdraws from Hamburg Masters

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have withdrawn from the Hamburg Masters.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have withdrawn from the Hamburg Masters. This comes a day after their grueling five-set final in Rome. Nadal defeated Federer 6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) in 5 hours, 5 minutes at the Rome Masters on Sunday to equal Guillermo Vilas' record 53-match winning streak on clay. Both players cited fatigue in announcing their withdrawals from the Hamburg tournament. ATP rules Under ATP rules, players making a late withdrawal from a tournament must still travel to the event to be examined by the tournament doctor. Nadal's next opportunity to beat Vilas' record will come at the French Open in Paris, which begins on May 28. Nadal is the defending champion. Nadal has won nine straight tournaments on clay. His 16th title also tied him with Bjorn Borg for most titles won as a teenager. Federer dropped to 39-3 this year. His only losses have come against Nadal. German fans and organizers had been hoping for a third straight showdown between Federer and Nadal at a clay-court Masters Series event following their finals in Monte Carlo and Rome. But players in Hamburg supported the decision of the world's top two players. "I understand them,'' said fifth-seeded James Blake, now one of the main contenders in Hamburg. Federer was scheduled to play German wild card Rainer Schuttler in the first round, while Nadal was up against Tommy Haas. The withdrawals left Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia as the top-seeded player for the German tournament. Lucky losers Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic and Sweden's Robin Soderling will replace Federer and Nadal in the draw. Federer is a three-time champion in Hamburg, winning in 2002, 2004 and 2005. The surface in Hamburg is similar to the one at Roland Garros. Another victory here would have strengthened Federer's confidence going into the French Open, the only Grand Slam he hasn't won. The Swiss player is looking to make history in Paris by becoming the first men's singles player to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously since Rod Laver in 1969. (AP)