Roger Federer has been around for so long and has played so much tennis that it feels like he is always in the middle of the action.
However, clay court fans will know that the Swiss great has stayed away from the French Open for a number of years. The last time Federer made an appearance at Roland Garros was back in 2015 when he lost in the quarter-finals to his compatriot Stan Wawrinka who would go on to win the French Open.
Federer who has 20 Grand Slams and 101 ATP titles has had most of his success on the hard courts and also on grass. Success has not evaded Federer on clay as the Swiss ace has had a good run at Roland Garros winning the 2009 French Open (pictured) and making it to a number of French Open finals (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011).
Federer ended up losing all those French Open finals to his arch-rival Rafael Nadal who is the king of clay. Since 2015, Roger Federer has preferred to skip the clay court season and Nadal has continued his dominance winning back to back French Open championships in 2017 and 2018.
Now, Federer has confirmed that he will make his return to the clay courts but isn’t sure how well he is going to play after a three year break. However, given the fact that he has had a good start in 2019 playing on hard courts, he believes it will help him ease into the clay court season.
In a statement, Federer said
I really want to go into the clay playing pressure-less, pressure-free. If things don’t go well, then I can say maybe that was expected, and if they do go well, then I’m definitely excited. And then when the stakes get really important, I might be able to play some nice tennis on clay again.
Fitness Will Play A Key Role
One of the reasons why Federer has avoided the clay court season for the last three years is because it is a lot more gruelling to play on clay than it is to play on a hard court. The 37 year old Federer needs to be very careful playing on clay and not injure himself.
He is working closely with his fitness coach in designing a different training program that will get his body and mind fit to get back on to the clay and shine once more!