It’s official! The dream of the calendar year grand slam is over. Federer will not be playing the French Open. Just an hour after we published an article on his French Open playing status, the Maestro published this official statement (to the right) explaining his reasoning for skipping the entire clay court season. This means that Federer will not play a single match on clay, instead devoting himself to the grass and hard court season, two surfaces which suit him much better.
While the news itself was quite disappointing, Federer’s reasoning for the skip was quite simple and understandable: rest. Whether we want to admit it or not, the sad truth is that Fed is no longer the athlete he used to be. That being said, resting up as much as possible is a great move because it will help preserve his diminishing endurance. It will also give him a noticeable head-start on preparing for Wimbledon, a tournament he’ll look to win for the eighth time.
In a note to his fans, Fed said that if he wanted to “play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come”, he thought it would be best to “skip the clay court season”. Frankly, I’d rather have Federer play a few more years of quality tennis than to play as much as possible in the present and wear himself out.
After recognizing that his “start of the year” was “magical” (perhaps even an understatement), Federer went on to say that proper scheduling is the “key to [his] longevity moving forward”. He explained how he thought that playing in the French Open “was not in the best interest of [his] tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season”. At this point, it’s beginning to seem like Federer is accepting the fact that he doesn’t like to dirty himself up in the clay. The surface is just not good for his body, and his chances of winning there are quite slim, especially with the unbeatable Rafa playing as he is now.
On the bright side of things, Fed let his fans know that he is still “working really hard” for the “grass and hard court seasons” ahead of us. This is a smart move because Federer has a long history of performing better on grass and hard court. Suffice it to say, clay has never really been Fed’s strength, and this extra practice time, and the fact that he will never have to make that huge transition from clay to grass means that he’ll be fresher and more prepared than ever for Wimbledon.
While it devastated many of his fans, including us here at Courtside Watch, it seems like Federer and his team ended up making a smart decision. It all boils down to: would you rather play as much tennis as you can now or play some quality tennis for a few years longer? The answer for Federer is the latter and based on the way he’s been playing so far, I think it’s a pretty smart one to make.
Perhaps this resting strategy will result in an even more dominant grass and hard court season (if that’s even possible) for Federer. Could he pick up Wimbledon and the U.S. Open as consolation?
What do you think, Courtside Watchers?