‘I have no choice but to play the clay season,’ admits Roger Federer

Roger Federer says he will ‘have’ to play some part of the clay court season in order to be ready for Wimbledon.

Federer has made little secret of the fact he considers the grass events to be the start of his season, despite making his comeback in Doha this week.

That comeback went well, as he beat Dan Evans before losing to Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday, but he will now go away and carefully plan his schedule.

“What comes before the grass courts are the clay courts,” Roger Federer said. “So I have no choice but to play on clay if I want to play matches.

“The clay could be good or bad for me. I will only know in practice, but I don’t think it’s going to be bad. I assume I will play some clay.”

Federer faded badly in his defeat to Basilashvili, but he says it was neither unexpected nor disappointing.

“Like I said, I’m not at 100% yet,” Federer said. “I can feel it, I can see it.

“I’m still building up. This is a stepping stone. I’m actually happy how I felt on court overall.”

“I honestly expected to feel this way. The whole shoulder, I feel the muscle pain around that.

“I didn’t expect that, I’d been serving the whole time but I think that comes with the pressure. In matches you just go that extra 5%.”

“I’m over it already. I would have loved to get a win but I’m happy to get some rest.

“It’s a really, really positive return for me. I’m really happy.”

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