Federer to play more clay court tourneys

Updated: March 23, 2006, 6:30 PM ET
Reuters

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Top-ranked Roger Federer is planning a full clay-court schedule ahead of the French Open, the only Grand Slam title he has yet to win.

The Swiss player said he will compete in the three Masters Series tournaments on clay in Monte Carlo (April 17-23), Rome (May 8-14) and Hamburg (May 15-21).

"I'll try to play the three events ... the last few years either I missed out on Rome or Monte Carlo," Federer told reporters at the Nasdaq-100 on Thursday.

"I think that's going to be a change for me."

Federer will start his title challenge in Florida with a second-round match against France's Arnaud Clement.

"I'm going to go early to Paris, get ready and hopefully be fine for Paris," he said.

The Wimbledon, U.S. and Australian Open champion was beaten by Spain's Rafael Nadal in the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2005.

"I came close last year, so I'm obviously optimistic about my chances at the French," said Federer. "I've grown up on the surface, you know.

"I'm just getting ready, giving myself the best opportunity. That's really all I can do."

The French Open starts on May 28.

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