Secret retirement plans not behind clay court decision, insists Roger Federer

Roger Federer in action

Roger Federer insists that his decision to return to clay court tennis this season is not motivated by secret plans for a farewell tour.

The 37-year-old has skipped clay season in recent times, but announced earlier this year he will play at the Madrid Masters – his first European outing on red dirt since 2016.

He also has plans to play the French Open at Rolland Garros this year.

That has prompted speculation that Federer is secretly holding a farewell tour as such ahead of plans to retire at the end of the season.

He, though, has denied that talk: “No, it’s not.

“I thought of it in isolation, ‘do I want to play the clay or not?’ And the answer was yes.

“And this doesn’t mean that this is my last clay-court season or whatever, or I had to play one more time before I retire.

“That was not the thinking. All I knew is that, after missing it two or three years basically, my body was ready, I was ready, my schedule with the family, my schedule with the team was ready to do it again.

“This is why I opted that it would be nice, instead of taking a big chunk off, I’d rather stay in the rhythm and actually enjoy myself on the clay.

“It’s going to be challenging, no doubt about it. I have to take baby steps in the beginning I guess to some extent, but that’s OK.”

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