Roger Federer announced today that a lingering back injury will prevent him from playing in the upcoming French Open. The last time Federer missed a Grand Slam tournament was during the summer of 1999, when he failed to qualify for the U.S. Open--he'd just turned 18 at the time and wasn't yet ranked in the world's top 100.
Federer's run of consecutive Grand Slams lasted more than 16 years and spanned 65 tournaments. There's an argument to be made that Federer's streak is as impressive as Cal Ripken's 2,632 straight Major League Baseball games played (also just over 16 years, from May 30, 1982 until September 19, 1998).
Baseball's offseason is roughly six months (plenty of time to recuperate), while the longest gap between Grand Slam tourney's is only four months. And while Ripken suited up for about twice as many games during his streak as Federer played matches, a baseball game isn't even remotely close to a tennis match in terms of physical exertion and the amount of stress put on the body.
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