Federer Skipping the French Open is Worrisome…for his Rivals

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When news Roger Federer would be skipping Roland Garros first broke out, a worldwide wave of concern regarding his health was set off. After all, he missed the 2016 French Open due to injury. The man with the most consecutive Grand Slam appearances doesn’t willingly bypass such events, right? Now that he holds the mental edge over Rafael Nadal, doesn’t a huge upset over the Spaniard on court Philippe Chatrier sound enticing enough?

Apparently not.

The French Tennis Federation and most fans received a major blow. With the reigning finalists Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both going through severe crises, we are poised to witness the most watered down men’s French Open in years. Might as well hand Nadal his tenth Coupe des Mousquetaires.

But the Swiss Maestro and his team know what they are doing. They have never hidden winning at Wimbledon is their utmost priority. By skipping the clay swing altogether, Federer gets a one-month head start of practice on grass.

That last sentence sounds unbelievably scary for his fellow ATP peers not named Evgeny Donskoy.

Grass legend + extended practice = recipe for success?

While the top dogs of the circuit mercilessly battle it out for hours on the dirt, Federer will be smoothly gearing up for his favorite part of the season.

He who owns a not so shabby 86.9 career win percentage on grass gets to play on the surface for an extra four weeks.

The man who has taken the tour by storm in 2017, as his 19-1 record attests, will have a massive adaptation advantage.

Someone who was two games away from reaching the 2016 Wimbledon final while basically on only one functional leg will be training at full strength in order to assault a record-setting eighth crown at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

No matter how you look at it, Federer’s practice edge is borderline unfair. Provided he is healthy, it is complicated to envision him not dominating the grass tour.

Even if he stinks up the joint in Dubai, Switzerland, or wherever he decides to settle down in May, the 18-time Grand Slam champion gets two mulligans in the Stuttgart and Halle warm-up events.

For some obscure reason, bookies still favor Murray and Djokovic over Federer as the players most likely to lift the Wimbledon trophy.

Forget it. I’m all in on Federer. 2017 will go down as the year of the sweeps. Nadal will win it all on clay. So will Fedeer on grass. At this point, it would require a major shocker to prevent that from happening.

Winning at Indian Wells, a positive precedent

For the record, ever year Federer has won at Indian Wells (2004, 2005, 2006, 2012) he’s also won at Wimbledon. Unless my memory is betraying me big time (and it isn’t), the Basel native did not lose a set en route to his fifth title at the California desert back in March.

Be skeptical of Federer’s chances at your own peril.

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