Tennis-Federer hopes clay swing will help Wimbledon bid


FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP 250 - Geneva Open - Tennis Club de Geneve, Parc des Eaux-Vives, Geneva, Switzerland - May 17, 2021 Switzerland's Roger Federer during a training session REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

(Reuters) - Roger Federer said he has never faced problems in switching from claycourts to grass and hopes his decision to play on his least favourite surface at Roland Garros will prove beneficial to his Wimbledon bid.

The Grand Slam on red clay has proved to be the least productive for the 39-year-old, who has won the title only once, and the Swiss has not competed at Roland Garros in four of the last five years due to injuries and scheduling preference.

After missing more than a year following two knee operations, Federer returned to the Tour in March and will kickstart his claycourt campaign at this week's Geneva Open to prepare for the French Open starting on May 30.

He will play the Wimbledon tuneup event in Halle, Germany before the grasscourt Grand Slam he has won eight times.

"I was happy that the knee didn't feel any different from hard to clay, so I expect the same to go from clay to grass," Federer told reporters on Monday.

"Since '98, since we have the grass in my schedule, I've never really had any major issues going between surfaces.

"I think that the tennis player is used to these switches but of course with an injury there is always a little bit more concern, especially when you haven't played as long as I have."

This year's French Open was pushed back by a week due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Federer said the shift had a huge impact on his schedule but he was happy with his preparations for Wimbledon starting on June 28.

"I'm convinced that hitting a lot of balls - you have to really power through the ball, like you have to on clay because otherwise you're not going to have an impact on this surface - is going to be beneficial for me for the grasscourt season," he said.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Berhampore, India; editing by Ed Osmond)

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