In an interview to L'Equipe, Roger Federer was asked why he was absent for three years in the French Open. The Swiss said: "In 2016, I was training on the No. 1 Court for a short time and I told myself: 'What am I doing here in Roland (Garros)? My back is completely blocked, my knee is not okay, I could reach the third round but not more.'
In 2017, I trained for two days because I thought I could play. It was snowing, it was four degrees and I went practice indoor with Pierre Hugues Herbert. Honestly, I asked myself: 'Do I still need that?' Training every day is not a problem, but in these conditions...
Playing indoor is not inspiring at all. I wanted to play outdoor when the weather is nice. Also, I had played so well in 2017, I won Indian Wells and Miami, I thought I should have taken time and not make an extra effort to play in Roland.
Last year I wanted to have a break and it was my wife's birthday. I really wanted to celebrate and spend time with my friends, my wife, who always supported me and my children." Could playing on clay be helpful ahead of the French Open? "It could be but I do not come back for that, that's the second or third reason that motivated my decision.
The first reason was the desire to find the clay again, as well as the French Open and spectators. I could not stop playing in the French and give my farewell with the match against Stan Wawrinka on Lenglen." Asked if he is playing the French Open for the last time in his career, Federer replied: "I heard that after my announcement in Australia.
That's not my plan. I took this decision for this year. At my age with all what's happening, I do not know how it will look like."