Is Federer’s Withdrawal From French Open A Sign of Tennis Lagging Behind Technology?

Gabe Jaramillo

It was surprising and to many disappointing when Roger Federer, 20-time Grand Slam champion, retired from Roland Garros on Sunday, one day before facing the No. 9 seed. Matteo Berrettini in a quarter-final match in the French Open.  I’m saying this as a long-time tennis coach, not on behalf of my role in any public company or organization with which I’m associated.   

“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery,” was Federer’s reported explanation. He will turn 40 on Aug. 8 and was competing in his first major tournament since the 2020 Australian Open. 

Many understood his decision attributing it to his physical condition after a knee operation a year and a half ago. However, others reacted negatively when they saw one of the greatest figures in the sport retire in the middle of a Grand Slam and taking away the opportunity for Koepfer to continue advancing. Through many years Roger has earned a reputation as a Champion on and off the field of play. That is why the world press welcomed his explanation.

Still, it is my strong belief that the athletes who are stars have a high responsibility to their followers. All the decisions they make have consequences that affect themselves and their loyal fans.

“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery. I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt,” Federer said.

If that is his way of seeing things, which is to say that he took this tournament to play some games that will serve as a warm-up for Wimbledon, I consider it disrespectful to Roland Garros, its sponsors, the youth who follow his example and all fans. The French Open is the most physically demanding tournament, and Roger entered that event knowing the demands on his knees. Five-set matches on this surface are devastating.

So why is FEDERER’S WITHDRAWAL A SIGN OF TENNIS’S LAGGING BEHIND TECH?  The answer is because many of these tennis stars and their coaches don’t seem to be aware of or fully understand the new advances in medicine and science and many continue to train using the old methodology. No pain, no gain.

Today we have innovative systems such as hypoxia training. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2019 was awarded for the discovery of the developmental response to Hypoxia.

A company that excels in simulated high-altitude training and is considered a leader in this field is Altitude International, which I know much about as I’m associated with them and have seen how their customized altitude chambers quickly and effectively condition athletes in football and other sports. 

HYPOXIC TRAINING/SIMULATED HIGH-ALTITUDE is an under-tried technology. When you take oxygen out of the air, significant things happen.  Science has shown that by training in less oxygen, an athlete can achieve in six months what usually takes two years. High-altitude simulation is scientifically proven to improve overall fitness with reduced training time, increase time to exhaustion, and more quickly develop muscular strength and endurance.  It reduces injuries by retaining fitness while injured, returning players to action faster, and reducing fatigue-related injuries. 

When athletes train with low oxygen levels, they gain vascularization, increasing the number of red cells helping transport more oxygen to the damaged injured area and the rest of the buddy.  

Hypoxia training promotes healing, regeneration, and recovery. Not only the athlete recovers more quickly, but it generates faster and stronger athletes. At the same time, this type of training helps prevent injuries, especially when athletes are under extreme physical stress. 

Today, professional soccer, football, and basketball teams worldwide use Altitude Extreme Chambers to provide better results and protect their investments. But as we can see with the best tennis player in history, the sport is lagging, preventing Federer from doing what he was born to do, win, entertain and inspire. 


HYPOXIC TRAINING/SIMULATED HIGH-ALTITUDE: When you take oxygen out of the air- significant things happen; science has shown that an athlete can achieve in 6 months what normally takes two years. 

High-altitude simulation is scientifically proven to improve overall fitness with reduced training time, increase time before exhaustion, improve muscular strength/endurance; reduce impact of injuries by retaining fitness while injured, return players to action faster and reduce fatigue-related injuries. 

VIRTUAL REALITY- A tool for developing stroke fundamentals.

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) – the modern way to analyze tennis via an app that measures the ball’s speed, height over the net and heaviness of the ball.

About the Author: Gabe Jaramillo is a renowned international tennis coach who has trained 11 of the world’s No.1-ranked players and 27 top 10 players, including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Maria Sharapova, Monica Seles, Kei Nishikori, and many more. Working alongside a team of acclaimed sports scientists and pro-sports pioneers-Gabe’s commitment to advancing the game has him directing tennis training protocols for Altitude International, manufacturer of sport-specific, simulated, high-altitude training chambers for elite athletes. Gabe is also Co-Founder of Club Med (sports) Academies. For 26 consecutive years, Jaramillo coached players at all four Grand Slam events — the French Open, Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the U.S. Open.