World number four Roger Federer has officially withdrawn from both the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, after previously stating that it was unlikely that he would play at either event.
Federer, who did not enter the draw for the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, which takes place next week, will not be in action until the French Open, taking time to rest before starting his clay court preparation a couple of weeks before the second Grand Slam tournament of the year.
The Swiss has had an extremely successful season so far, losing just one match and winning the Australian Open, the BNP Paribas Open, and the Miami Open. He was last in action yesterday, where he beat world number one Andy Murray 6-3, 7-6 in an exhibition match.
Federer set to rest ahead of Roland Garros
The 18-time Grand Slam champion previously stated that he could well look to rest, following his highly successful, yet demanding, return to the tour following a six month absence, and will now not be at any of the three Masters 1000 tournaments on clay since 1998; his first year as a professional.
Federer previously skipped the Mutua Madrid Open, where he has won the title twice since the tournament changed to clay courts in 2009, though played at both Monte Carlo Rolex Masters and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia last year, reaching the quarterfinals and third round respectively; it will be the first time since 2013 he hasn’t played in Monte Carlo, and the first time since 2005 he hasn’t played in Rome.
It will be over a month until the Swiss is next in action at the French Open, where he will be aiming for his 19th Grand Slam title, and his second in Paris after his only previous triumph at the tournament in 2009. Federer will likely not go in as the favorite due to his break, and has stated that his next aim is to win Wimbledon.
Clay court season now open
Though clay is his weakest surface, Federer’s absence will give several players an opportunity to gain some points after the Swiss’ incredible start to the season.
Rafael Nadal, who has lost in three finals this year, two coming to Federer, will be aiming to continue his resurgence up the rankings and regain dominance on a surface he used to sweep up on, whilst the likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will be looking to find form after below-par seasons so far.