Federer to make clay court return in Madrid

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Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return during the final against Alexander Zrevev of Germany at Hopman Cup mixed teams tennis tournament in Perth, Australia, on Jan. 6, 2018. Switzerland claimed the title with 2-1. Xinhua/Zhou Dan

LONDON (Reuters) – Roger Federer confirmed his participation for this year’s Madrid Open yesterday, marking his return to the European clay court season after two years away.

The 20-times Grand Slam champion has not played this year since his Australian Open round of 16 defeat by Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in January.

Federer, whose sole French Open title came in 2009, has preferred to skip the European clay season over the last two seasons to manage his schedule.

He has won a men’s record eight Wimbledon titles, six Australian Open titles, a record five consecutive US Open titles, and one French Open title.

The 37-year-old Swiss is the second most successful player at the Caja Magica behind Rafa Nadal, winning three titles in 2006, 2009 and 2012.

“Federer is one of the best players of all time, it’s no secret,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez said in a statement.

“We are happy because his return to Madrid is a gift to the tournament, but above all the fans will be able to see a unique player in the Caja Magica.

Having the Swiss player back on clay with Djokovic and Nadal is going to be unmissable.”

World number one Novak Djokovic and 11-times French Open winner Nadal are also expected to feature at the Madrid Open, which will be played between May 3-12.

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