Everyone wants a piece of Roger Federer. How could they not? If I am a tournament director, and there is a micro chance to have Federer in my event I would, of course, do all that is in my power to have him. Just by announcing his presence I guaranty a bigger crowd (if there ever will be a crowd), TV rights would climb, as would the price for sponsors to buy into the tournament. And it would also be just for the pleasure of the eyes. It’s so good to see him play especially as it is getting rarer and rarer.
Anyways, Guy Forget, like everyone else would like to see Roger Federer on the starting line of the 2021 Roland-Garros. When looking at the schedule of the Swiss, one could assume that he was planning to be in Paris at the end of spring. Indeed this is what could be understood from the tweet put out by the Madrid Masters 1000 event 3 days ago, announcing Rodge in the Spanish capital.
It is a known fact that the conditions in Madrid suit Federer more than the other clay court events. He’s been crowned 3 times in Madrid, which is more than the number of titles accumulated between Monte-Carlo and Rome : 0! Plus, at this age, Fed needs to be stingy with his energy. He cannot allow himself to go from one clay court event to another if his ambition is to finish the spring clay court season on a high. Basically, from the moment that Federer announces his presence in Madrid, one can assume that it will be followed up with a Parisian visit.
Even though Alize Cornet doesn’t get it
However, things slightly changed since yesterday, Thursday April 8th. That is when the French Tennis Federation officially communicated on the postponement of Roland-Garros by one week, in order to hope for the biggest possible crowd. This is all very understandable, even though Alize Cornet doesn’t get it. Of course the tournaments before and after Roland-Garros will need to reorganize, and there will be some rethinking needed but nothing compared to 2020 …
However for Federer the inner debate has begun: to play or not to play Roland-Garros ? He knows his chances of winning in Paris are slim to none as long as you know who is playing. Plus, he’s committed to play Halle after the French Open, which will be his preparation tournament for Wimbledon.
Let’s imagine that he makes the quarters in Roland-Garros. He leaves Paris on Thursday morning, the following Tuesday or Wednesday he’s playing his first match on grass. He could potentially win that tournament. Then he has a week to prepare before his 1st round in Wimbledon. All of that with around ten matches under his belt. It’s maybe a bit much for a guy who had trouble playing two in a row back in March.
Showing up fresh as a daisy
However, it is competing that Federer needs in order to regain his match fitness. Around him, players are a mix of marathon runners and sprinters (Tsitsipas, Djokovic, Medvedev, Thiem …) Showing up fresh as a daisy is no longer an option. It maybe was in the past but now players are tuned as sharp as Formula 1’s.
On top of that, here is what Federer said in Qatar when asked about the chances of him playing Roland-Garros : « What I need is to play matches. And what comes before the grass is the clay season. So if I want to play matches my only choice is to play on clay. »
So basically I want to play Wimbledon and be able to perform and for that I need to play matches prior. Prior is Roland-Garros.
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