Roger Federer kicked off his preparations for the french open by practicing on the scorching-hot ‘hard court’ of Dubai. The 18-time Grand Slam winner arrived in Dubai last week after playing world’s no.1 Andy Murray in an exhibition match (Match for Africa 3) in Zurich.

Federer, who already decided to skip most of the clay-court tournaments, is contemplating on foregoing this year’s competition at Roland Garros as well. He cited the bothersome feeling he had on his knee while playing on clay last season contributed to his decision of staying away from the red dirt as much as possible.

The Swiss will spend the next two weeks practicing on the hard court.

He is expected to train in Dubai for a few days before flying to Seattle, where he is scheduled to play with Bill Gates and John Isner for the fourth edition of Match for Africa on April 29.

“Even though I don't think it was because of the clay as such, but my physio and fitness guy thought that that could also be a good thing, not being too much on clay. So I feel very comfortable and confident that it's the right decision,” said Federer, who will make his decision on whether or not he’ll play in the French Open on May 10.

Decisions to make

French tennis legend Fabrice Santoro believes Federer has to make up his mind if he plays at Roland Garros. With the world’s no.1 ranking seemingly within reach for Federer at the end of the year, Santoro advises Federer to carefully lay out his plan on how to attack the remainder of the season.

One thing is for sure about the Swiss nowadays: winning the French Open is no longer a priority.

Santoro still thinks Federer will regain the top of the ATP World Rankings despite skipping the French Open, and that’s by winning the other major tournaments: Wimbledon and the US Open championships.

All Thanks to Fed

Lucas Pouille claims practicing with Federer the last offseason has helped him grow as a tennis player. Coming off a semifinal stint at the Monte-Carlo Masters, the Frenchman felt that he learned a lot from the Maestro in just a few practices together in Dubai. The 23-year old Pouille said, aside from the techniques, he also learned how to manage his career and activities on and off the court.

Pouille, ranked no.17 in the world, reached his second

The 23-year old Pouille said, aside from the techniques, he also learned how to manage his career and activities on and off the court. Pouille, ranked no.17 in the world, reached his second ATP World Masters semis appearance after defeating Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-0, 3-5, 7-5. On Saturday, Pouille engaged in a three-set showdown with Albert Ramos-Vinolas but eventually succumbed to the 29-year old veteran 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

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