Roger Federer has chosen to skip the entire clay season this year for the first time since he turned pro in 1998.
The 18-time Grand Slam champion has had an incredible resurgent season at the start of 2017 by winning three of the four tournaments that he has played. But, he has clearly maintained that his ultimate goal is to stay fit for the entire campaign without overloading his schedule with numerous tournaments or trying to get the top back at the top rankings. Many experts even thought of him to have a real chance in Paris this year, given the current scenario where Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are struggling for form.
However, in an interview on Tuesday, Federer’s coach, Severin Luthi, revealed that his decision to skip the French Open was taken in order to prepare for the grass court swing, more importantly his favorite Grand Slam, Wimbledon.
Luthi, who has been touring with Federer since 2007, has also brushed off suggestions that “King of Clay” Rafael Nadal’s current 15-0 winning streak on clay formed any part of the decision making process: “Yeah, but I think it’s important you more look at it from your own side.”
“Roger, if he’s playing a tournament, in my eyes, he’s always able to win it and beat anyone on any surface. And on the other side, for me, even if Rafa is the big favorite in Paris, you never know what is going to happen.”
“He could lose early or be injured or sick, so that was not really part of the decision-making, how Rafa was playing on clay.”
Luthi insisted that the decision was made keeping in mind the Swiss Maestro’s long term future in the sport: “The goal is to keep on playing ultimately for many more years on tour.”
“This is more of an investment for the future. For me, the most important thing is that he’s healthy, which is the case now and for the last few weeks and months.”
Federer will begin his grass court season with appearances at Stuttgart and Halle and with more than a month to prepare, he should be “more than ready” to get his hands on that trophy that he holds so dear.