Federer to skip clay season ahead of French Open

With Federer completing his third "Sunshine Double" of the Indian Wells and Miami titles, it is no wonder that that there is speculation as to whether he can add to his all-time record total of 302 weeks at the top of the world rankings, particularly as Murray and Djokovic, the top two in the list, have had their troubles this year and are now nursing elbow injuries which forced them to miss Miami.

Coming into 2017, Roger Federer had lost 23 of 34 matches to Rafael Nadal. Yet such is his improvement that Federer could even need just one more Grand Slam title (combined with a moderately successful showing in the World Tour Masters 1000 events) to catch Andy Murray at the top of the rankings by the end of the calendar year and finish 2017 as world number one.

Fourth seed Federer, in his 24th career final against Nadal, started slowly, struggling to hold serve in the very first game, but he staved off two break points and settled into a good serving rhythm.

Federer and Nadal were both close to the top of their games during the opening set as they held their serves to keep things tight. This Swiss would get a second look when Nadal missed a backhand, but the Spaniard saved it with an ace.

"In 2005, I beat you very lucky in the finals here".

The Miami Open showdown was the third meeting between the pair this year (already).

In his on-court interview, Federer backed Nadal, who has himself been hampered by injury, for clay success.

- With this win, Federer moves to No. 4 in the ATP rankings. "On the offensive side, overall, I think I'm definitely doing a few things better than I ever have".

"He had his chances in the first and the second it was close and I think on the big points today I was just maybe a little bit better ... it just fell that way.", added the Swiss, who showed some signs of tiredness after his grueling three-set win over Nick Kyrgios in Friday's semifinals. He said he would skip much of the approaching European clay-court season and would wait to "get on the clay" until about two weeks before the French Open, which begins on May 22.

"It's disappointing for me that I have been trying during all my career".

Federer is now 4-0 in tiebreakers this year at Key Biscayne, none of the first three as pressure-packed as the one he needed in the quarters. You will probably see me at the French.

Berdych actually won 91 points to Federer's 89. "That is what it is going to look like, I need rest, my body needs healing, I need time as well to prepare, you will probably see me at the French again", he told ESPN in an on-court interview.

The 35-year-old Federer becomes the tournament's oldest men's champion.

Federer said he also had some concern that clay may cause trouble for his knee.

"I want to stay healthy and enjoy myself", he said.

"I don't know", the 14-time Grand Slam champion said when asked about his main rival for the title at Roland Garros.

"I had belief I could turn it around, even then", he said. "What a start to the year, I can't believe it".


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