Becker backs Federer’s decision to skip French Open

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Monte Carlo Masters

(Reuters) – Roger Federer’s decision to skip this year’s French Open has been applauded by Boris Becker, who believes the decision means the Swiss will be a strong favorite at Wimbledon.

Federer, who announced his withdrawal from the May 28-June 11 claycourt major earlier this month, said he felt he needed to avoid playing on clay this season to help prolong his career.

“If I were his coach, I would have tried to convince him to skip Roland Garros all the way,” Becker, who guided Novak Djokovic to French Open glory last June, told Portuguese daily newspaper Record. “Playing there would have been no sense.”

Federer defied age and logic to win the Australian Open in January after a knee injury kept him out of tennis for six months, and followed that up with two more high-profile titles at Indian Wells and Miami.

“So far he has dominated, he is 35 and I thought from the beginning that he should have rested until the grass-season events,” the six-times major winner, who parted ways with Djokovic at the end of last year, added.

“When I knew he wouldn’t have played in Paris, I thought ‘very well, great move.’

“It’s very likely that Roger wins Wimbledon this year. He won in Australia, Indian Wells and Miami, then he took time off.

“I think it’s very likely that he wins his eighth title at the All England Club and the 19th grand slam title of his career.”

(This version of the story correct source in third paragraph)

(Reporting by Simon Jennings, editing by Pritha Sarkar)