Roger Federer will take a near two-month break from competitive tennis following the Indian Wells tournament in March as the 31-year-old opts to spend more time with his young family and prepare for the clay-court season.
The Swiss star, speaking to reporters ahead of today’s start of the Dubai championships, stressed that his lighter schedule was aimed at helping to prolong his playing career and not a sign of him winding down, with the father-of-two determined to add to his record haul of 17 Grand Slam singles titles.
“The last few years have been really tricky in terms of my practice schedule, especially through an Olympic year in 2012,” said the world No 2. “This year is totally different. Family is very important, so I also want to spend quality time with them.”
After the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, which runs from 4-17 March, Federer will not play another tournament until the Madrid Open in early May, allowing him to take a holiday with his family, then spend four to six weeks practising on clay courts in Switzerland.
“I can’t play a year like I did last year every single season because that isn’t the point I’m at in my career – I’m not 22, where I have to play 25-30 tournaments a year,” said Federer, who has twin three-year-old daughters. “Plus, I believe I’ll be really ready for the tournaments I’ve entered.”
Meanwhile, France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came from a set down to delight the home fans with victory over Tomas Berdych in the final of the Marseille Open yesterday.
Top seed Berdych took the opening set 6-3 and had three chances to break Tsonga in the second but eventually lost it 8-6 in a tie-break. And third seed Tsonga maintained his momentum in the decider, taking it 6-4 courtesy of a single break of serve in the third game.
In the doubles, Scotland’s Colin Fleming claimed his second tour title of the year, partnering India’s Rohan Bopanna to a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) victory over top seeds Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori was due to meet Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the final of the US National Indoor Tennis Championships last night after beating Australian Marinko Matosevic in the semi-finals in Memphis on Saturday.
Marina Erakovic became the first New Zealander since Belinda Cordwell in 1989 to win a WTA title after German Sabine Lisicki retired in their final. Erakovic raced to a 6-1 first set victory before the German succumbed to illness.