Bad news for French Open: Roger Federer is skipping the entire clay-court swing, meaning he will miss Roland Garros for the third straight year.
“I decided not to play,” Federer concisely told reporters after suffering an upset loss to Australian qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Miami Open on Saturday.
The men’s record 20-time grand slam winner didn’t make a knee-jerk reaction in frustration after losing 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to Kokkinakis. Rather he said he had already held discussions with his entourage.
Federer pulled out of the 2016 French Open — in the midst of knee and back issues — and last year didn’t play the entire clay-court swing as he opted to gear up for Wimbledon. The decision proved a masterstroke, since he didn’t drop a set en route to claiming an eighth Wimbledon title.
With no apparent injuries, the 2009 French Open winner is presumably thinking big picture.
If he wanted to compete at the French Open, Federer probably would have had to play in 2 buildup tournaments in May, Madrid and Rome. The toll on his 36-year-old body could have lingered and impacted not only his grass-court preparations but the rest of 2018 or even beyond.