Roger Federer will not play 2017 French Open

| Updated: May 16, 2017 13:31 IST

New York [U.S.], May. 16 (ANI): It is official. Roger Federer has confirmed that he will not be playing in this year's French Open. The 18-time major champion made the shocking announcement on his website on Monday, just a week before the Grand Slam is set to begin. "I've been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it's best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons," the 35-year-old Federer wrote on the site, reports CNN. "The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward. Thus, my team and I concluded that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season. "I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year." <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Unfortunately, I won&#39;t be playing <a href="">@rolandgarros</a> this year. I&#39;ll miss my fans in France, but appreciate your support <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) <a href="">May 15, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> Federer, who has had a pretty incredible start to this season with his victories in the Australian Open, Indian Wells and the Miami Open, has only won the French Open once, in 2009. However, with Federer withdrawing his name from the event, nine-time champion Rafael Nadal's chances as the favorite to win at Roland Garros have only increased. Nadal at present stands undefeated on clay this season, with him just having won the Madrid Open title. (ANI)