Q. You don’t play Monte Carlo, but you will play Estoril. It will be three tournaments a row Rome, Estoril, and Madrid. Any special reason for that?
ROGER FEDERER: I always look at the schedule, what’s the best preparation for the French Open? What am I in the mood to do? What am I in the mood to play?
Monaco is not a mandatory event anymore. It gives us a bit of an option. Of course, there’s a lot of points there to go get, but it’s really early in the season.
It’s too early for me, and I also want to have some vacation, you know, after a long trip here in the States so I’m really fresh for the long trip really from Rome until Wimbledon.
It’s a long one, and I want to be refreshed till the very end of Wimbledon, you know, not that I get tired midway or something, so I need to plan clever and healthy. I believe that this is the right schedule this year.
Q. A 28 draw in Estoril, it’s good for you?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, that was also definitely one of the reasons why I was able to pick Estoril as a tournament in between Rome and Madrid.
If I would have had to win five matches to win the tournament in between two Masters 1000, I think it would have been quite unlikely I would have played.
I think that is it’s been a good help for 250 tournaments out there.
Given Roger’s early exists at both Indian Wells and Miami, I was wondering if it would not be wise of him to take a wild card at Monte Carlo. You may remember he did so last year, and lost early on to his mate Stanislas Wawrinka, but that was very different circumstances. He got married the week before the tournament and hardly trained much on clay. In contrast, this year he hit the clay courts in Miami only hours after his loss to Berdych. So you certainly think he would have been better prepared for Monte Carlo this time around. Above he gives his reasons for not going to Monte Carlo, after his second round win against Nicolas Lapentti. I’m sure at that point he was still hoping to make a deep run in the tournament though. But apparently his early exit to Berdych didn’t make any difference to his clay season plans.
This means that he is spending almost another month away from tournament competition after being out for about six weeks after the Australian Open. He is obviously planning ahead for the French Open and Wimbledon afterwards. It’s not so much fun for us Fedfanatics to have to wait another two weeks to see Federer play, but since Monte Carlo is not a mandatory event, there isn’t really a reason for him to play. There is the ranking points to consider, but to make up for that he is playing three events in three weeks, and then takes the week before the French Open off. From a fan’s perspective I would have loved to see him take the wild card at Monte Carlo, and not play Estoril. But he obviously feels like it’s early in the season and he needs a lot of rest for the clay/grass stretch, which is really the meat of the season.
Last year that stretch took a huge toll on him mentally and physically, and left him vulnerable for the rest of the season. As always, I think Roger has got his scheduling spot on. There is no way that someone like Nadal would have scheduled this wisely. I’m liking Federer’s thinking this season. I think because of this wise scheduling his energy will be much more evenly dispersed throughout the season, whereas last year the bulk of his energy went into the clay/grass stretch. So to answer my own question; no, he should not have taken a wild card at Monte Carlo, even though from a fan’s perspective I hate to see him out of action so much. The good thing is that this will be a new start for Federer on a new surface, and I for one can’t wait to see what this clay court season has in store for our man.
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