Roger Federer expands clay court schedule to include Istanbul Open
Roger Federer has set himself up for a very busy spring clay season. The No. 2 released his schedule last week, which included plans to play the Monte Carlo Masters, Madrid Open and Italian Open in advance of the French Open. On Tuesday he announced he also plans to play the inaugural Istanbul Open, an ATP 250 event, which takes place the week before Madrid from April 27 to May 5.
Watch Federer's announcement below:
The addition of Istanbul means Federer is currently scheduled to play four clay tournaments in five weeks, including a stretch of three in a row before taking a week off ahead of the French Open in May. The last time Federer played four clay-court events before Roland Garros was in 2008, when he played in Estoril, Monte Carlo, Rome and the former Masters 1000 event in Hamburg, and went on to reach the final in Roland Garros.
The last time he played three consecutive weeks of clay tennis was in 2010, when he played Rome (second round loss), Estoril (semifinals), and Madrid (final). He went on to make the quarterfinals of the French Open that year, losing to Robin Soderling.
Could Federer be setting himself up for a push for the No. 1 ranking? Last year he made the Monte Carlo final before withdrawing from the Madrid Open to be there for the birth of his second set of twins. He returned a week later at the Italian Open, where he lost in his opening match to Jeremy Chardy. As a result, the clay offers a big opportunity for Federer to gain points this year.