In an interview to Baz Online, Marco Chiudinelli commented on the favourites for this year's clay season. The former world No. 52 wrote: "I am intrigued by the ways Roger will find in a potential match against the favourite Rafael Nadal with his one-handed backhand.
Roger was helped by Ivan Ljubicic, who was famous on Tour for his unbelievably strong backhand. That's one of the reasons why Roger has won all the four matches against Nadal in 2017. Since Ljubicic has been in Roger's team since 2016 season and in 2016 Federer could barely play on clay due to a knee injury, and he skipped the surface in 2017 and 2018, we could not admire his backhand abilities on clay.
I am optimistic about Federer's chances on clay. I think he should be considered one of the main favourites. If Nadal finds his normal shape on clay in the next few weeks, then the Mallorcan will be very difficult to beat this year.
I see Roger as his top challenger with Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem. I am also confident about Stan Wawrinka in the French Open. This year he has shown in Rotterdam that, after the injury, he is finally back to beat almost all his opponents.
But he still lacks the consistency of three years ago and a big breakthrough. I expect that to happen sometimes this year. Why not in Paris." Federer is already in Madrid and he had his first practice on Friday.