Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Federer absence hits Halle hard

Text updated at 1720 GMT, June 10. Please see note below.

Imagine a tennis tournament — fans, organisers, sponsors and even the small town itself — depending on a big name to show up to make it a success.

This is the case for Halle, a lush sleepy town in eastern Westphalia, which has been banking on the appearance of world number 2 Roger Federer for years to lift the ATP 250 tournament out of relative obscurity.

With many other top players choosing Queen’s in London to prepare for Wimbledon, Federer has been by far the biggest name to grace the grass courts at Halle, winning the event five times in the last six years.

The tournament sees him as its best advert and after losing the French Open final in past years, Federer found comfort on his favourite surface in the very intimate setting.