After suffering a shocking defeat to Thanasi Kokkinakis in Miami last Saturday (March 17), the tennis champion Roger Federer revealed that he will be skipping any remaining clay-court matches, including the french open of 2018, in a decision made by him and his team with the hope of extending his tennis career before Wimbledon commences. Federer, who was still recovering from his loss to the Australian Kokkinakis, took a second hit at the Indian Wells final where he was defeated yet again by Juan Martin del Potro the following day (March 18), prompting his declaration to take a break from the sport.

No longer number one

Federer, the defending tennis champion, has now lost his number one spot to Rafael Nadal, holding second place in the ATP rankings which will be announced April 2. This followed his loss to 21-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis, a qualifier ranked 175th when he entered the Miami Open with a triumph of 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 against the crowd favorite.

Australian player Thanasi Kokkinakis, who needed a wild card just to get into the qualifying rounds of the Miami Open, had suffered a number of injuries over the last two years which made him consider retiring from the sport. He was also previously ranked lowest as the player to beat for the number one spot since Francisco Clavet. Federer, 36, who just became the oldest player to have gained the number one title, has said to be feeling worn down by his recent matches in an interview regarding his decision to take time off: “I deserve it after this match,” Federer said, “That’s how I feel.

It’s so bad."

For Federer, it will be the first time he has lost two consecutive matches since 2014, but he is not alone with a series of other surprising losses by Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, both losing their opening matches in the same tournament. On Friday Djokovic lost to Benoit Paire, and Williams, who only recently sprung back from maternity leave, fell in her match to Indian Wells winner Naomi Osaka.

Meanwhile, British number one Kyle Edmund lost 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-5) to Frances Tiafoe from the USA, who stands as the current world number 63.

Winning strategy

But this doesn't mean that all is lost for Federer, it will be the same strategy he employed last year so that he could focus on Wimbledon, a move that paid off with his win for the eighth time overall and the first time since 2012.

Hopefully, these tactics will gain the same results this time around. Federer's team anticipates that this will help him bounce back in time for Wimbledon, considering it to be the best move for the 36-year-old. “We all had the feeling that it was better to take care of the body and to do without the additional surface change," Federer said.

Federer will be expected to return to the courts at the Mercedes Cup, which will be commencing on June 9 before moving to Halle, where he has previously won a total of nine times, and then head to Wimbledon where fans will find out if he will manage to regain his champion status.