Roger Federer has decided to opt out of the entire clay court season ahead of the French open for the first time in his career. There were doubts on him playing in the dirt this season, after he announced earlier this year that he would be playing fewer tournaments as his body would not be able to cope with the rigorous schedule.
He announced his absence from the clay court seasons in the post match interview after capturing the Miami open title, defeating his nemesis Rafael Nadal for the third straight time this year. Federer who had started of this year, after a long lay off, at world no. 17 has shot back up in to the top 5. Now at no.4 he poses serious threats to the top spot where Andy Murray has been comfortably reigning with a huge points gap between him and Novak. When asked about whether he has any intentions of regaining the world no.1, he yet again shied away form the question, saying that that was the least of his concerns right now, and that although he has managed to surpass his own expectations this year, he is still a long way off from setting his sites on the battle for the top spot. If Federer manages to win another slam and shows a decent performance
in the rest of the masters tournaments that he is going to play, there is a big chance that he will end up as the world no.1 at the end of the year.
With Federer’s withdrawal form the clay court season, and the top two players under performing this season, Rafa is the clear favourite for triumphing at the French open. Rafa has also been returning from injury and says that he is getting better and better with every tournament and he is almost at the level that he wants to be. Of course how he performs in the tournaments leading up to the French will be paramount to his success. Rafa’s three straight defeats to Roger have overshadowed how well he has managed to perform this year despite his injury lay off. He has made it to 3 finals this year, and lost only 4 matches out of which thrice he has been thwarted by his old nemesis and losing to an in-form Sam Querrey in Acapulco. In his post match conference Rafa said that although he did not believe in luck he felt he was unlucky in the finals of the Miami open at the crucial points and that the score might have been quite straight forward but he felt he had missed a lot of opportunities to break Federer’s serve. Rafa believes that he is back stronger than ever and is hoping that he has a very good time in the clay courts, which remains to be his hunting grounds for numerous titles. He will be heading to Monte-Carlo next to kick start his clay court season.