Rafael Nadal: 'I knew that Roger Federer would play Roland Garros'

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Rafael Nadal: 'I knew that Roger Federer would play Roland Garros'

After a lot of thinking, the 20-time Major champion Roger Federer has decided to compete on clay this year, entering the home ATP 250 event in Geneva and Roland Garros. Roger will not play in Madrid and Rome, picking Geneva and Paris as his clay-court stops and hoping to play at his best after the most extended break of his career.

Thus, Federer will have the opportunity to win the first ATP title on clay at home since Gstaad 2004 and the first overall in the home country since the Laver Cup and Basel in 2019. After Geneva, Federer will take a week off and enter his 19th Roland Garros at the end of May, hoping to continue where he left in 2019 and notch another notable result two weeks before turning 40.

Despite a shorter grass swing in comparison to the previous years, Roger will try his fortune on the Parisian clay, winning the event in 2009 when he completed a Career Grand Slam in that emotional final against Robin Soderling.

Rafael Nadal knew about Roger Federer's Roland Garros plans.

Federer opted to skip Roland Garros in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and make better preparation for the grass swing, not playing on the slowest surface for three years before returning in 2019.

Finding his old clay magic, Roger beat five rivals to reach the semis two years ago, setting a thrilling clash against Rafael Nadal and losing it 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 25 minutes. Fourteen years after their first Roland Garros clash, Roger and Rafa were engaged in another battle for the final at clay Major.

The Spaniard was the favorite, and he had the upper hand from start to finish to deliver the 24th triumph over Federer in 39 encounters, the 14th in 16 clashes on clay and the tenth in 13 Major duels. Federer had to skip 13 months after the last year's Australian Open, undergoing two knee surgeries and returning in March in Doha.

After two matches in Qatar, Federer decided to skip Dubai and Miami, thinking about his schedule and adding Geneva and Roland Garros to his calendar. Asked about his rival, Rafa told that he knew about Roger's plans, feeling happy about him and saying it is good for tennis in general.

"I spoke to Roger before, and I knew he would play in Paris. I think it's good for tennis in general, and him too," Rafael Nadal said.