Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
After being upset by Thanasi Kokkinakis in the round of 64 at the 2018 Miami Masters Open, Roger Federer announced he will not play in the clay season this year.
Tennis TV provided coverage of the announcement:
Tennis TV @TennisTV
So now we know… No clay for @RogerFederer in 2018 #MiamiOpen https://t.co/kT5i4KVdqb
That means the 36-year-old will not participate in the 2018 French Open in two months. Although he won the event in 2009, it’s the only Grand Slam he does not have multiple singles titles at. He will not have an opportunity to change that this year.
Federer has not competed in the French Open since 2015, when he reached the quarterfinals.
It’s been a hot start to the year for the top-ranked player in the world. Federer entered the Miami Masters Open at 17-1 in 2018, although he lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in his final match before heading to Florida.
With the three-set loss to Kokkinakis, Federer found himself in unfamiliar territory, as Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times noted:
Given his impressive record this year, it would’ve been a treat for tennis fans to see if Federer could challenge the King of Clay Rafael Nadal in Paris later this spring. However, he is choosing to do what he feels is in his best interest. For a player this deep into his career, it’s hard to blame him.
Federer, of course, has always been better on grass courts as compared to clay. His eight Wimbledon titles are the most all-time. Perhaps skipping the clay season will allow him to be fresher come July.