Federer will play his first match back on clay next month when he competes at the Madrid Masters.On Monday, Federer posted his first picture on the
Federer will play his first match back on clay next month when he competes at the Madrid Masters.
On Monday, Federer posted his first picture on the clay with the phrase ‘#timetogrind’ as he gets to work on the surface.
The 37-year-old’s last match on clay was at the Rome Masters in 2016 and his last appearance at the French Open came in 2015.
If Federer is to cause a major upset on the clay, he will most likely need to beat his great rival Nadal.
But Nadal feels the 20-time Grand Slam champion is more than capable of being a threat because of his talent.
“Roger is always a candidate, let’s see how he’s able to adapt his game again to the clay after a while without playing on clay,” he said.
“I don’t think it will be a big trouble for him because he has the talent.”
Novak Djokovic echoed Nadal’s comments saying tennis had missed the Swiss in the recent clay seasons.
“I thought tennis was missing him definitely on clay last year,” he said.
“But I think, personally, people understood why he decided as well to skip the clay-court season last year and I also understand why he wants to play.
“Definitely for our sport, it’s better that he plays.
“He’s been playing some great tennis. Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, he’s won two out of three, played the final in Indian Wells, [which is] as good as it gets.
“Of course [clay is] a different surface, but in Indian Wells the ball bounces quite high there, which kind of imitates the clay.
“He’s dealt with high balls really well throughout his career, so I don’t see any particular big issue playing on this surface… you always expect highs from him.”
Kei Nishikori was similarly confident in Federer’s chances.
“It (winning Roland Garros) might be tougher for him than winning the Australian Open or Wimbledon, but I’m sure he can do anything if he tries 100 per cent,” said Nishikori.
“He’s a lot different than anyone else on the Tour. I’m sure Roger can do very well on clay. He’s still my idol, he’s the best player in history.”