Roger Federer outplayed his tennis rival Rafael Nadal to lift the Miami Open title, and then shocked the tennis world with the news that he will be taking an eight-week break from the tour.
“Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal now,” said Federer, who plans to play no clay-court events apart from the French Open at the end of May. His chances in Paris seem likely to be slim, even on this year’s form, given his decision to skip the build-up events.
“All the grass is important to me,” Federer added after his 6-3, 6-4 victory. “The second part of the season is the big priority. It’s more about relaxing right now, more about injury prevention. My knee was strange on the clay last year and my physio thought that was a good thing: not playing too much on the clay.
“I will have to stay in shape because I have the Match for Africa 3 on April 10 [an exhibition that is also supposed to feature Andy Murray, sore elbow allowing], so I can’t fall apart completely. After that I am looking forward to going back to the gym. I will probably stay on hard courts for the next few weeks, then I will get on the clay two weeks before the French. Hopefully I will play the French and then for me that’s when the season really starts.”
Sunday’s victory means that Federer has claimed all three big hard-court titles of 2017, building on his previous triumphs at the Australian Open and in Indian Wells. But his scheduling demonstrates that further grand slam titles are more important to him than a return to the world No 1 ranking.