Roger Federer’s decision to skip the French Open had nothing to do with Rafael Nadal’s current form on clay, the Swiss ace’s long-time coach Severin Luthi has confirmed.

The 35-year-old announced his decision to completely skip the clay court swing of the season, including the second Grand Slam of the year after admitting that he is keen to concentrate on the grass and hard court events, which will follow after the French Open.

Multiple doubles Grand Slam champion Todd Woodbridge suggested that Federer was keen to avoid long-time rival Nadal, who has continued his good start to the 2017 season into the clay court events. The Spaniard has won three back-to-back titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, and has been installed as the favourite to pick up his 10th French Open title at Roland Garros.

Luthi, who has toured with Federer since 2007, has dismissed suggestions that Nadal was part of the decision-making process, and insisted that it was all about focusing on the 35-year-old’s long-term future in the game.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion has made a strong start to the 2017 season, winning three of the four tournaments he has played. But made it clear that his main goal is to remain fit for the entire campaign, and not overload his schedule with tournaments and chase the top ranking, which will still be possible if he wins Wimbledon or the US Open, which are Federer’s main targets after capturing the Australian Open crown in January.

“Yeah, but I think it’s important you more look at it from your own side,” Luthi was quoted as saying by Tennis World USA. “Roger, if he’s playing a tournament, in my eyes, he’s always able to win it and beat anyone on any surface.”

“And on the other side, for me, even if Rafa is the big favorite in Paris, you never know what is going to happen. He could lose early or be injured or sick, so how Rafa was playing on clay, that was not really part of the decision-making,” Federer’s long-time coach explained.

“The goal is to keep on playing ultimately for many more years on tour. This is more an investment for the future. For me, the most important thing is that he’s healthy, which is the case now and for the last few weeks and months,” he added.

Source: Pradhan Muthanna/ International Business Times