That’s the view of seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander ahead of this year’s Roland Garros tournament.

Roger Federer is playing on clay for the first time in three years and will face Lorenzo Sonego in the opening round.

Federer has won 20 Grand Slams in a glittering career and is going for his 21st at this year’s French Open.

In truth, he probably has a better chance of notching up his next Grand Slam on the grass of Wimbledon.

But Wilander believes playing on clay will have given Federer some much needed time to groove his action ahead of SW19.

“Looking at Wimbledon, I think it’s a necessity for him to play on clay,” Wilander said.

“When I see him play in Madrid and in Rome, it makes him play slightly more passive on clay and obviously for obvious reasons but at the same time I think it builds such an unbelievable foundation to his game to play and practice on clay.

“I mean he basically has the perfect season because he’s got weeks off where he can work on hitting a thousand one handed backhands and can hit a thousand serves.

“I mean those have to work on grass, they have to really work on grass to have a chance and clay is a perfect surface to not get injured because people say it is more physically taxing to play on clay.

“Not really, injury wise for sure not, maybe in terms of stopping and starting – in terms of drawing matches out it might be but in terms of stopping and starting, you have that slipping, sliding thing so the chances of getting injured on clay are way less than other surfaces but you can get weary of course.”

Federer hasn’t found it easy on his comeback on clay, pulling out of his Italian Open quarter-final and knocked out at the last-eight stage at the Madrid Open.

But the Swiss star was getting jealous of others on the syrface and that’s why he is playing on the surface this season.

Federer told French TV channel Stade 2: “What made me decide to come back to Roland-Garros? In the end, it’s envy.

“I like slipping, cushioning, riding at odds, playing with angles and to see the fans I have not seen here.

“I hope to win a few matches to really savour this audience. I will give my best.

“The fact that this can be my last Roland-Garros? Each tournament can be the last. Yes, it is not excluded, it’s true.

“I do not see my arrival at Roland Garros this year as if it was the last.

“I want to play it like 10 years ago, it does not change.”



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