This week was the start of the Madrid Open. If that isn’t striking a nerve with tennis fans, this should serve as a reminder that the tournament holds great importance as a vital stepping to the French Open, which is scheduled to start on May 26 with the finals slated for June 9. What makes this year’s Madrid Open so intriguing is the return to clay by none other than tennis great Roger Federer.
It’s been almost three years since the 20-time Grand Slam winner walked out to play a tournament match on a clay surface. At the age of almost 38, Federer has already defied the odds by remaining a top five player at an age when most champions retire and move to the broadcasting booth. Federer has thrilled fans and made millions for gamblers. In fact, it’s highly likely that gamblers will be looking to use a bonus code bet365 2019 to bet on this year’s French Open, perhaps on Federer.
While his success on grass and hardcourts has been well-chronicled, he has always been a bit of an enigma on clay. Of his 20 Grand Slam titles, only one was earned in the French Open (2009). It would seem to have been a twist of fate that 2009 was the same year Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Open when the event was moved to a clay surface after seven years of being played on indoor hardcourts.
It’s noteworthy that Federer has spent the last three years focusing mostly on grass events in an effort to add to his growing list of Wimbledon titles, which currently stands at a record eight with last one coming in 2017. Injuries and prior struggles on clay made the decision to avoid the surface easy to make. Remember, losses in the French Open in 2006 and 2007 cost Federer an opportunity to claim a natural Grand Slam.
Clearly, Federer is looking for one more dance at the French Open. If the tennis world had its way, Roger Federer will be standing on one side of the net for the finals and one more shot of clay glory. Unlike the past three years, there is a distinct possibility that could happen.
In an interview a few days prior to a straight set victory in first round of the Madrid Open, Federer talked about his decision to return to the Madrid and French Opens. He stated,
“I’m happy that the decision I took last, I guess around December, when I started feeling like I definitely want to do the clay, that it was the right decision. I haven’t looked back at the clay-court buildup yet or [at] everything that I have been doing [and thought] maybe I shouldn’t have [done something or not]. I’m happy I’m here, and I’m happy I’m on the surface.”
Then adding, “I have not high expectations in some ways, but at the same time, I also know that things are possible. Madrid always plays fast with the altitude, so [I am] intrigued to find out myself. But it’s been good so far.”