Betway Props: Roger Federer To Play French Open in 2018?
Will Roger Federer appear at the 2018 French Open?
We've spoken at lengths about Roger Federer's incredible tennis feats, so let's get straight to the point. Out of Roger's incredible nineteen grand slam victories, just one has come on the clay courts at Roland Garros. While his tally may be much greater if not for Rafael Nadal, the surface is certainly Federer's least productive in terms of overall win percentage, and it's unlikely that he will win at the French Open as long as the King of Clay is around.
But will his record at the event dictate his decision? It is unlikely - Roger Federer will be remembered as one of the most graceful champions in both victory and defeat, and after missing the 2017 event surely only an injury would prevent the veteran from appearing at a grand slam tournament. It certainly makes for an intriguing debate.
The best way to analyse the possibility from both sides is to look at his tweet from just prior to the 2017 French Open, which reads as follows:
"Regrettably, I've decided not to participate in the French Open. I've been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it's best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons. The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward. Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the seasons. I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year".
The Case For
Oddsmakers at Betway have set a figure of -500 for Roger Federer to play at the 2018 French Open, which is incredibly short considering what may happen in the next six months or so. Clearly in their mind, there is a much greater chance of Federer turning up to Roland Garros, and there are a number of arguments that back up their sentiments.
Firstly, as mentioned above, Federer is one of the greatest gentleman to have ever played the game. He will be the first to mention that without the fans and public interest, tennis tournaments would not provide champions with million-dollar paydays, sponsorship deals would be non-existent, and he would not be in such a position of privilege. He owes it to the fans, particularly those in France, to make an appearance at one of the four biggest events on the calendar.
He mentions this directly in the above tweet, and his line about looking forward to seeing the fans next year indicates that unless he suffers a major injury in the lead up, he will be amongst the seeded players at the French Open in 2018.
Federer cited longevity as the main reason why he missed out on the 2017 clay court season. While making this decision, there is a good chance that he would have considered whether or not he should skip the French Open and the clay court season every year from now on, however no such decision was forthcoming which indicates that he certainly plans to play on at Roland Garros. Whether 2018 will be his last tournament remains to be seen, but is also irrelevant here.
The Case Against
Quite simply, injury is the biggest factor here. Roger Federer is no longer a young man and the clay surface is perhaps the most taxing on the human body. His decision to cite longevity in missing the 2017 event is completely understandable, and it would not be surprising to see the same decision made in 2018. Roland Garros presents the biggest risk to Federer in his bid to attend all four grand slams in 2018, so he will need to consider this carefully.
The French Open has never been Roger Federer's strength, and with the return to form and fitness of now world number-one Rafael Nadal, it is basically out of the question that even the greatest of all time will win another French Open title. Of course, you have to be in it to win it, but the decision to play in a tournament with little chance of glory may also be a decisive factor in Federer pulling out of the tournament.
In addition, Federer managed to win two grand slams and a quarter-final appearance in 2017 when solely focussed on the grass and hard-court seasons. Is he really going to risk an opportunity to take out his twentieth career grand slam title to appease the fans at the French Open? Is he going to risk his legacy as the greatest Grand Slam winner in history when Rafael Nadal is just three behind and could pounce at both Wimbledon and the US Open if Federer is forced to pull out or even retire earlier than expected?
After his recent win over Nadal in the Shanghai Masters, reports suggest that Federer will be looking to pull out of a few upcoming tournaments in spite of the lure of taking the world number-one crown back from Nadal. This suggests that his focus is on being fit for another year of grand slam pursuits, and further adds to the argument that he would be best avoiding Roland Garros.
Finally, Federer's tweet above indicates that in order to play at the French Open, he would need to participate in at least a few clay tournaments in order to physically prepare for the tournament. What many don't realise is that committing to Roland Garros in 2018 means committing to a much tougher training and playing schedule, and at the age of 36, this could prove too much for the all time great.
Wow, this is a tough one, although we're inclined to trust the legacy of Federer and think he will at least make an appearance at the French Open. We certainly hope that this does not affect his chances at the other tournaments, particularly Wimbledon and the US Open that immediately follow Roland Garros, but we understand that he will certainly want to provide at least one more opportunity for his French fans to see him in action - it's just the type of guy he is!
What are your thoughts on the subject? Are there any critical points that you feel we've failed to address? Make sure you join in on the conversation and let us know your opinion on whether Roger Federer will play in the French Open in 2018.
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