Paris - World number one Novak Djokovic headed a cast of leading players expressing their disappointment on Friday at Roger Federer's injury-enforced withdrawal from this year's French Open.
Federer's absence was a primary topic of conversation at Roland Garros with the 17-time major winner announcing he would miss the tournament after failing to recover from a back injury, bringing an end to his astonishing run of 65 consecutive Grand Slams.
"It's definitely a loss for the tournament," lamented Djokovic. "We're definitely not used to seeing Roger skipping Grand Slams," he added, with Federer missing a major tournament for the first time since the 1999 US Open.
"Obviously the nature of his injury is not light, and it kept him off this tournament that I'm sure that if there was any chance he could play he would participate."
Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal said Federer's absence was a blow to tennis fans, but the Spaniard admitted it wouldn't personally impact his preparations.
"I think for me it is not changing much. But I understand that for the fans, for the tournament, for the world in tennis in general it's very negative news," said the world number five.
"Every tournament that a big player like him is not able to play is negative news for the world of tennis."
Serena Williams, who like Federer will turn 35 later this year, hailed the Swiss star's longevity and conceded it would be strange not to see the 2009 French Open champion in Paris.
"I think he plays most slams, so definitely - 65 in a row? That's a lot.
"I think it's just pretty awesome, but it means he cares about his future and the Olympics this year and Wimbledon and US Open. He probably wants to give himself the best chance. It's a shame not to see him in the draw. He's always such a staple."