Federer is out of the clay season. Last night after his surprising loss Federer to Thanasi Kokkinakis, Federer announced that he will not be playing the clay season in 2018. He will be back on grass in June.
Federer is out of the clay season. Djokovic struggles to find his form. Murray and Wawrinka are still injured and Nadal has an uncertain health situation. This means we’re heading for a wide open clay court season. I personally thought that with an early exit in Miami and the uncertain form of other top players, Federer might decide to give the clay courts a go, but no.
Does he want to save his body or is he afraid to lose? Does he not have an obligation as the world’s best player to at least try to play the French Open? Or has he earned his right to do as he pleases?
Federer loses two matches in a row – to Del Potro and Kokkinakis
Despite being the clear favourite in Indian Wells and Miami, Federer failed to repeat the “sunshine double” from last year. After a stunning performance by Del Potro in Indian Wells (where a grumpy Federer had three match points, but Del Potro (read about Del Potro’s tennis racquet here) came back to win in a final set tie-break) and an inspired effort by often-injured youngster Thanasi Kokkinakis, Federer is now 17-2 in matches in 2018.
Kokkinakis is only 21 years old and very talented but has been plagued by injuries. He has practiced with Federer in Dubai and knows the “GOAT’s” game pretty well.
“[I know] everything about him so if I lose it’s completely on me,” Kokkinakis said in between laughs. “Yeah, I’m sure he doesn’t show everything on the practice court. But I’ve seen what I can and I’m going to go out there and have a crack.” Kokkinakis said this and more in an interview posted on the ATP official website prior to his match with Federer.
He did have more than a crack and fought hard to win a third set tie-break and the match.
Federer has been mishitting on his forehand wing quite a bit lately and that has obviously hurt his confidence. Has he been playing too much? Is it just a spell of bad form? No matter what, this can be a good reason to opt out of the clay season, because gruesome and long rallies on clay is likely not going to make it better.
What do you think about the news that Federer is out of the clay season? Is it the right decision? Should he be obliged to play?