To me, this was a very good thing for Roger to do. He takes his responsibilities on the ATP Tour very seriously, and he understands that he is the most popular player and that many people are disappointed when they don't get to see him play. For Roger to actually go on court and explain to the fans why he was forced to withdraw shows how great a sportsman he is and how much he cares about the game and its fans.
Roger withdrawing from the tournament is a bit disappointing, but it is completely understandable as we are ten days away from the start of the Australian Open. Health is the number one priority right now and it is very wise for Roger to take care of his body before it gets more serious. Since it is only a muscle injury, it should heal well before play begins in Australia, and he should be raring and ready to go in an attempt to win his 17th major title. As far as I'm concerned, Roger got some great match play and should be fully prepared and happy with his game as he goes to Melbourne. He had a great win over Davydenko, another solid win over Zemlja, and even came through against Seppi even though he was not 100% fit, so his confidence should be high. I'm a little disappointed that this injury forced him to withdraw, as another Federer vs Tsonga match would be fun to watch, but I completely understand his decision and right now, the Australian Open is the only thing that matters.
So due to Roger's withdrawal, there was only one semifinal match to be played to see who was going to face Tsonga in the final. Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils met in a rematch of their 2009 encounter, which Monfils won. Monfils got an early break in the first set and led 5-2 before closing out the set 6-3. In the second set, Nadal got out to a quick 3-0 lead, but Monfils came roaring back, and won 6 of the last 7 games to take the match. I did not see the match, but I did hear that Nadal had his chances to really put the set away against La Monf, and squandered his opportunities. This is very un-Rafa like to me, and it could be a sign that he is declining in his mental game. Whatever is the case, he will need to get his affairs in order before the Australian Open, at least in the mental department. He really has not looked like the same player since Novak Djokovic beat him in Madrid and Rome last year.
Before the week, I predicted we would see a Tsonga vs Monfils final, and it looks like I was right! Glad to see the two Frenchmen going at it in the final, even though a Federer/Nadal matchup would have been much more intriguing. Logic says Jo should take the win, but there is a chance that not playing in the semifinals could screw his rhythm up, and Monfils looked very confident against Rafa and could use that to his advantage in starting strong vs his compatriot.
Hope we see a great final (though I won't be watching), and I hope that Roger gets healthy soon. I can't wait to see him roaring to go for the Australian Open - I know he wants it badly and will do everything in his power to ensure he is fully prepared.
PS - I have now started calling Monfils "FREAKISH ATHLETE." He is so awesome that he deserves the name in all caps.