Federer open to shock tilt at Roland Garros title

Roger Federer has left the door open for a tilt at a second French Open title, less than 12 months after his decision to skip the entire clay season was vindicated by success on grass and hard courts.

The Swiss great last month repeated as the Australian Open champion and continues his season this week following a surprise wildcard entry into the Rotterdam tournament.

While the main aim of his appearance in the Dutch event is a shot at the world No.1 ranking while incumbent Rafael Nadal is out injured, it is also a test case for his body.

The 36-year-old continues to spread out his schedule to avoid mental or physical burnout -- and that could come into play in the coming months.

"The clay season is up in the air," he said.

"If I'm playing a lot during this part of the season, it would be hard to play a robust clay season. It would be light (schedule) if I do play.

Roger Federer. Pic: Getty

"We'll see how it goes, I'm healthy and glad to be playing. I should be playing when I feel that way and not play when I don't feel at 100 percent or don't feel ready to do it.

"That's the secret for me moving forward."

It has been speculated that Nadal's recent injuries and Federer's dominance over the rest of the tour have given the 20-time grand slam winner the confidence that an appearance in Paris would be worth the risk.

Federer will become the oldest man ever to hold the top ranking if he reaches the semi-finals in Rotterdam.

If seedings hold up, that means he would have to defeat compatriot and friend Stan Wawrinka in what would be a high-profile quarter-final.

"I would love to be in that position with anyone, but with Stan it would be like a Grand Slam final, a big-time match," Federer said.

"I'm hoping to get to number one and hoping to do it this week. You always want to do it the tough way, it's not easy to get there.

"The achievement would be quite incredible. It's exciting to see Stan in my section and it's great to have him back (after knee surgery in July)."

Federer made a relatively late decision to play in Rotterdam, which he won in 2005 and 2012.

A tournament in Dubai in two weeks' time is also on his mind.

"I didn't expect to win Australia, I played it not thinking about No.1," he said.

"I didn't think of the rankings at all in Melbourne. Afterwards, I thought I could always play Rotterdam.

"I'd love to play, give it a go and see what happens. I'm happy I'm here, healthy and eager to play."

He starts his bid on Wednesday against Belgian Ruben Bemelmans.

with AFP