Not my last clay-court season: Roger Federer hoping to enjoy action on red dirt


first_imgTennis great Roger Federer has said he decided to return to clay-court action after a two-year hiatus because “he was in the mood to do it again”. Federer also insisted that the decision was not motivated by the urge to play on the red dirt “one more time” before retiring.Federer last played on clay during the 2016 season. After suffering early exits in Rome and Monte Carlo, Federer decided to withdraw from the French Open that year in order to avoid risking his fitness. Notably, Federer had ended his run of 65 consecutive Grand Slam appearances with the withdrawal.Federer hasn’t played the French Open since his quarter-final exit at the clay-court Grand Slam in 2015. However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion will bid to return to Roland Garros. Federer, who won his first and only French Open title in 2009, starts his clay-court campaign this season at Madrid Open, starting May 3.”I think after not playing for two years, also missing the French [Open] three years ago because of injury, I think the team understood that I was in the mood to do it again. I did grow up on clay, after all. I felt like my body is strong enough now again to do the surface changes from hard to clay to grass to hard. In the past I felt different It was purely based on [the fact that] I would just like to play. We can always readjust the schedule accordingly depending on how I play the clay,” Federer told ATP’s official website.advertisement”This doesn’t mean this is my last clay-court season, or I had to play one more time before I retired. That was not the thinking,” he added.”My body was ready, I was ready, my schedule with the family, my schedule with the team was ready to do it again. This is when I opted to say, ‘It will be nice. Instead of taking a big chunk off, I’d rather stay in the rhythm and actually enjoy myself on the clay.’ It’s going to be challenging, no doubt about it. I have to take baby steps in the beginning to some extent, but that’s okay.”Federer failed to defend his Australian Open title in January after a shocking fourth-round defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The 37-year-old, who slumped to world no. 7, resumes his season at the upcoming ATP 500 tournament in Dubai. Federer, seeded second behind Kei Nishikori, faces Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round on Monday.Speaking about the bid for 100th tour-level title, Federer added: “We’ve been talking about 99 titles ever since Basel, every tournament I’ve played. There’s nothing new. Of course, coming to Dubai where I’ve enjoyed a lot of success sort of makes you believe maybe it could happen here. Then again, the draw is tough. I haven’t played in a few weeks so you reset everything, get ready for your first round, hope everything is going to click again here in Dubai.”Also Read | Cartoon of tennis star Serena Williams not racist, says Australian Press CouncilAlso Read | India will travel to Pakistan for Davis Cup tie: AITA secretary generallast_img

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