Federer shifts focus to future

French Open

After spending a few days practicing on clay courts in Switzerland, a healthy and well-rested Roger Federer settled on his upcoming schedule: He will bypass the French Open and turn his focus to Wimbledon, then the U.S. Open.

“It was a tough decision to take, because he likes to play the French Open, likes to play the big tournaments,” Severin Luthi, who coaches Federer, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Monday. “But I think it was the best decision for him. It’s an investment in his career — for this season and for the coming seasons.”

Federer posted a message entitled “Roger to skip Roland Garros” on his website on Monday, announcing that he will stay away from competing on clay entirely in 2017 and instead will prepare for the grass- and hard-court events that follow.

“I’ve been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month,” Federer wrote, “but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it’s best to skip the clay court season this year.”

It’s the second year in a row that Federer pulled out of the French Open, where main-draw play begins in Paris on May 28. He won the title at the clay-court major in 2009 to complete a career Grand Slam.

His absence a year ago, because of back and knee problems that plagued him in 2016, ended his record streak of appearing in 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments — every one since the start of 2000.

Now, though, the owner of a record 18 major championships feels great.

And he wants to keep it that way.

“We are in a good situation. He is (healthier than he’s) been in the last five years. We could take the decision out of a position of strength,” Luthi said about pulling out of the French Open.

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