World No 4 Roger Federer has hinted that he isn’t entirely sure about playing the French Open, a few weeks after he said that he would be taking a two-month break from tennis till Roland Garros.
Speaking to the CNN on Monday, Federer mentioned, “I don’t think I will skip it, but I will have to see in, say, four or five weeks how I feel when I get on the clay, how my mood is. If I feel like I’m not 100% in it that I’m not really fired up – and I believe (it) is something possible – then it is better to skip it.”
At the same time, the 35-year-old also noted that a potential absence from playing in Roland Garros would then mean the extension of his voluntarily enforced break away from the Tour to around two months, which could take the momentum away from him further. “But then I think maybe the break is a long one. It will be 10 weeks until the grass, [which] could be a bit long, but I will make a definite decision in five weeks. But I think I will play the French [Open],” the 2009 Roland Garros champion went on reiterate.
The Swiss had had quite a productive start to the 2017 tennis calendar as he won the Australian Open in January, before claiming the Indian Wells-Miami double in March. After winning the Miami Open title, the 35-year-old announced that he wouldn’t be playing in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome Masters to not overtire his physique.
The ambivalence about becoming the World No 1 again
Also, given that playing during the clay season would have seen a potential hastening of his chance to become the World No 1 again, the Basel native commented that regaining the top-spot in the ATP ranking was no longer his primary goal.
Federer first became the World No 1 in February 2004, after winning his maiden Australian Open title earlier in January that year. He held his place until August 2008 for a total of 237 weeks, when Rafael Nadal pipped him after convincing victories at the French Open and Wimbledon that year. In the following years, Federer took over as the world’s best player twice more, in 2009 and 2012 en route to completing a record total of 302 weeks atop the ATP ranking.
“At 23 years old, absolutely, you can start saying I’ll play the last 20 tournaments of the season if it helps with me getting a better chance with the World No 1,” stated Federer further.
Pointedly elaborating, Federer then stated, “That’s exactly, though, when I [will] get injured. That’s exactly when I [will] burn out and that’s exactly when it [will] all end so that’s exactly why I did take a break for six to seven weeks and just really relax the body again. I also said the mind needs a break, the stress and pressure that I have every single day from playing is a lot.”
However, never one to let go of any opportunity that could help his career, Federer didn’t rule out taking hold of the ranking again, observing, “If it happens great, but I really think it’s a long, long shot. But, who knows. I really hope I can do very well at Wimbledon and the US Open this year.”