After some thinking, Roger Federer decided to compete on clay this spring, entering Geneva and Roland Garros ahead of his beloved grass season. Since the last year's Australian Open, Federer has played only two tournaments, struggling with a knee injury and undergoing surgeries in February and May last year.
Returning to action in Doha two months ago, Federer defeated Daniel Evans before wasting a match point versus Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarters. Taking two more months off, the Swiss stepped on a clay court for the first time in almost two years on Tuesday, competing at home in Geneva and losing to Pablo Andujar in the second round.
Roger forged a 4-2 advantage in the decider after raising his level from set number two, losing ground after that and suffering a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 loss. Seeking more matches ahead of Halle and Wimbledon, Roger will play Roland Garros in ten days, returning to Paris for the first time in two years when he was the semi-finalist.
The tournament director Guy Forget is thrilled to see Roger in the draw, stating that the Swiss would have won five or six more Roland Garros trophies without Rafael Nadal in the draw. Federer lost all six Roland Garros encounters to Nadal, winning only four sets and never forcing a decider against the king of clay.
Roger Federer lost all six Roland Garros matches to Rafael Nadal.
Rafa beat him in the semis in 2005 on his debut and in three straight finals in the following years. Setting eyes on the only Major he was yet to conquer, Federer went all the way in Paris in 2009, beating Robin Soderling in the title clash to complete a Career Grand Slam.
Two years ago, Federer returned to Roland Garros after skipping it for three years, playing well and reaching the semi-final where Nadal took him down in straight sets. "Roger Federer competing at Roland Garros seems logical to me.
It will allow him to test himself and his current level. Clay is a vivid surface that requires you to be precise in everything you do. The better Federer plays at Roland Garros, the better he will be at Wimbledon. If Rafael Nadal hadn't existed, Roger Federer would have won five or six Roland Garros titles, I'm sure about that. We could see the clash between Nadal and Federer in the second week," Guy Forget said.