Roger Federer still a threat at big events, but realistic about French Open chances – Patrick McEnroe

Roger Federer interview

He is still has the ability to win big tournaments, but Roger Federer won’t “realistically” think he is going to win this year’s French Open, according to analyst Patrick McEnroe.

Following 13 months on the sidelines due to two knee operations, Federer made his return to action at the Qatar Open in March. However, he pulled out of the two hard-court events after that in order to focus on training.

He finally confirmed a fortnight ago that he will play at Roland Garros this year while he will use the Geneva Open in his native Switzerland as a warm-up tournament for the clay-court Grand Slam.

Although he believes Federer will be in good shape at the French Open, ESPN commentator and analyst McEnroe says the 20-time major winner will know he is not the favourite to win the title.

“He wouldn’t be showing up to play if he didn’t think he could play well,” he told Reuters. “But I don’t think he is realistically going there thinking he could win the tournament.”

He added: “Even when Roger was at his highest level he was the second best clay-court player in the world, which is saying something. I don’t think we can say that right now, especially coming off such a long layoff,” said McEnroe.

“But his expectations are certainly to go there and play well and make a little bit of a run.”

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Federer turns 40 in August and while he no doubt would love to win a 21st Grand Slam title, McEnroe says the Swiss icon is still playing because he “loves the game”.

“He’s still a threat to win a big tournament,” former world No 3 McEnroe said.

“I never underestimate greatness and he’s great, one of the greatest if not the greatest of all time.

“He just loves the game. He loves to play. I don’t think he plays with the sole intention of ‘I’m going to play to try and win every tournament’ and I think that’s part of his popularity and part of his sustainability.”

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