Roger Federer, currently on a two-month break, is still unsure about entering the 2017 French Open and will take a final call closer to the second Grand Slam of the year. The Swiss master has made a remarkable start to the season, capturing Grand Slam No. 18 at the 2017 Australian Open before winning critical ATP 1000 masters tournaments at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.
After his Miami Open victory last month, Federer told reporters that he would miss most of the clay-court season with the exception of Roland Garros which gets underway on May 22. However, Federer, currently in Dubai doing a fitness programme with Pierre Paganini, recently said he will take a call on the French Open on May 10. "I will decide to switch to clay or not on May 10. We (My coaching staff and I) will sit and speak about it: will we skip the clay-court season? Or is it better not to do it? Until then, I will practice on hard (courts). I will compete only when I am ready and motivated," Federer told Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger.
Roger Federer: 'I am already planning for 2018'
Federer, after making a remarkable comeback from his injury setbacks, realises that he has to pick-and-choose tournaments from the packed ATP calendar to prolong his career. When asked if Federer would consider calling time on his career with a victory at the Wimbledon this year, he said that wins and losses no longer have a bearing on his career.
"I never thought about it (retirement even after winning the Australian Open). I am already planning the beginning of 2018. I don't think wins or losses can influence the date of my retirement. It's more (of) a mind and physical question. It's not my goal to stop playing when I am peaking. I will play until I can, and until I'm happy. I will continue to play as long as my team and family are happy."
Last year, Federer withdrew from the French Open with a knee injury, missing his first Grand Slam since the 2000 Australian Open. The tournament lost its lustre after nine-time champion Rafael Nadal also withdrew due to injury, clearing the path for Novak Djokovic to win his first-ever French Open title. After skipping Roland Garros, Federer suffered a semi-final loss to Canadian Milos Raonic at Wimbledon before taking a six-month break from the sport to recover from the arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent last February.
"After (last year's) Wimbledon, my doctor told me my knee was simply broken. And so I had to skip all those tournaments, even if at the end it was good. I hope to have proved that in the tough moments you can reinvent yourself, that there always opportunities. The growth of my popularity starts from here. I thought that many people could be happy seeing me winning in Melbourne, but not so much. Yesterday, I (once again) watched again the fifth set of the Australian Open (final against Rafael Nadal) because a friend of mine had sent me a video. And I got goose bumps once again."