Roger Federer revealed Tuesday he will decide on his participation in the clay-court season after the Miami Open is over.
Federer recently saw his best-ever start to a season (17-0) snapped when he lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets during the final at Indian Wells on Sunday.
As a result, he not only missed out on the chance of a third title of the year but also lost 400 points in the ATP tennis rankings, which means he could surrender his status as the world No. 1 if he fails to reach the quarter-finals in the Miami Open, which begins this week.
However, the 36-year-old is still upbeat and is looking forward to emulating last year where his career resurgence began. Federer returned from a long injury layoff to win the Australian Open, Wimbledon and an overall total of seven titles in 2017.
A key factor to his remarkable year was the fact that he skipped the entire clay-court season to help with his fitness levels ahead of the grass-court season. With many expecting him to do the same in 2018, Federer recently raised eyebrows when he claimed he wanted to face Rafael Nadal on clay.
Nadal notably has a 13-2 head-to-head record on clay against Federer, who has only won the French Open once, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion has refused to rule out his participation on the surface and will make his decision at the conclusion of the Miami Open.
“I’m really looking forward to the season. Australia was an amazing start for me,” Federer was quoted as saying on Sporting News. “The way I played at the Australian Open and then going to Rotterdam and clinching world number one and now just coming off the finals in Indian Wells. I hope Miami is going to go well. After that, shortly after, I’ll decide what I’m going to do with the clay-court season.”
At the wrong side of 30, Federer admitted he does not know how much he has left in him which is why he will have to keep being selective about which tournaments he will play as he enjoys his time at the top again.
“I don’t know how much more I’ve got left in me, but I’m enjoying my time right now at the top,” Federer added. “I can’t believe I’m back to world number one and I’ve just had another fabulous start to the year so we’ll see what the year brings but I have to be selective in which tournaments I can and should play. But the feeling I get right now is I’m probably going to have another great season, so that’s a wonderful thing.”
Federer has a bye into the round of 64 and will face the winner of the round of 128 match between Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis and France’s Calvin Hemery, which takes place Thursday.