Roger Federer remained uncommitted about his clay court schedule since the start of the 2018 season and made it clear he will only decide after the ongoing Miami Open.
The clay court season begins in April with the Monte Carlo Masters being the first major tournament. The Monaco event is followed by the Barcelona Open, the Madrid Masters, the Italian Open and finally the French Open at Roland Garros which starts on May 27th.
The Swiss ace chose to skip the entire clay schedule in 2017 in order to focus on the grass and hard court events later in the year. Federer had just returned from a long-term knee injury and was not keen on putting extra pressure on his body.
The 36-year-old was clear from the start that he will play a limited schedule as staying fit was his top priority. It has continued into the 2018 season with Federer currently playing only his fourth event of the year in Miami.
However, Federer hinted he could play a few events on clay in 2018 and recently revealed that entering the French Open is a very likely possibility, which will mean he will play at least one or two tournaments preceding the second Grand Slam of the year in order to acclimatize himself to the surface.
“I have to listen what my team suggests and how my body feels. Last year, clay wasn’t in my plans. If I play this year, I may combine Paris with maximum one or two tournaments,” Federer said about his plans for the clay court swing of the season, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
Meanwhile, the Roland Garros tournament director Guy Forget is hoping Federer plays the French Open this year with the Swiss having missed the last two editions — 2016 was due to injury, while 2017 was to avoid putting added pressure on his body after returning from a long-term injury.
It was a last minute decision to skip Roland Garros by the 20-time Grand Slam champion in 2017. Forget is willing to accept any decision taken by Federer this year, but is confident he has the capability to win the title in Paris despite not being the favorite coming into the event.
“I think that he gave us the impression of being fully fit physically,” Forget said about Federer’s decision to skip the French Open in 2017, as quoted by Tennis World USA. “We will respect any decision. I think that it was never seen in history that a world no. 1 doesn’t play a Grand Slam (without being injured). I personally think that he is fully capable of reaching the Roland Garros final, and even winning it.”
“There is Rafael Nadal, and all the other players of the Tour, (but) Roger has already beat them on clay. Seeing him evolve on the court, they say that he plays as well as two years ago. It will be his decision.”