Rome: Roger Federer will play in next week’s Italian Open as he warms up for his return to Roland Garros for the first time in four years, the 20-time Grand Slam winner announced on Saturday.
Federer, playing his first clay court event in three years, lost in three sets to Austrian Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open quarter-finals on Friday. “Hello everybody. Just finished speaking to the team and happy to say I’m coming back to Rome to play in Italy,” the 37-year-old said in an Instagram video on Saturday.
Federer will have a first-round bye as the number three seed in Rome, where he will begin his tournament against either Frances Tiafoe or Joao Sousa. The Swiss has never won on the clay in Rome’s Foro Italico having finished runner-up four times.
Thiem, who saved two match points, will face Novak Djokovic on Saturday after the world number one’s opponent Marin Cilic withdrew with food poisoning. Rafael Nadal beat Stan Wawrinka 6-1 6-2 to set up a clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who edged Alexander Zverev 7-5 3-6 6-2, in the other semi-final.