Roger Federer

Paris, May 16 (IANS) The 18-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer has announced his absence from the French Open later this month, and has turned his attention to the grass and hard court tennis seasons.

“Regrettably, I’ve decided not to participate in the French Open,” said the Swiss tennis superstar in a statement on his Twitter page on Monday.

“I’ve been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month 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 and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons,” he added.

The 35-year-old Federer made an astonishing comeback from his injury early this year as he beat Rafael Nadal in full sets in the Australian Open final to clinch his 18th Grand Slam title, reports Xinhua news agency.

He then rode on his hot run to take away the trophies in Indian Wells and Miami, two ATP 1000 Masters, before he skipped some tournaments into the clay season, and finally, the Roland Garros.

“The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward,” he said.

“Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season.”

It was the second straight year that Federer withdrew from the French Open. He was absent last year due to knee and back injuries.

“I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year,” he said.

Federer lifted the trophy only once, in 2009, in the French Open, which took up the least part for his total of 18 Grand Slam titles. He has been crowned seven times in Wimbledon, five times apiece in Australian Open and US Open.

The French Open will begin on May 28, with the qualifiers beginning from May 22.

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