Indian Wells champion Federer will take break to prepare for French Open

Remember how truly terrible 2016 was?

Federer has returned to the court in sensational form after he took a six-month break previous year after suffering a knee injury. Things were looking grim for the fan favourite. Still a comeback year, but I did say that until Miami, it was going to be still [a lot of] learning.

The 35-year-old continued his excellent start to 2017 at the weekend as he landed the Miami Open title with a 6-3 6-4 victory over great rival Rafael Nadal.

Peter Bodo has been covering tennis for over 35 years, mostly recently for ESPN. The Swiss will have a light build-up for the French Open, skipping much of the European clay season.

We'll see if this is the start of another big summer for Federer or just three months of great fun. After the first quarter of the year (and a Grand Slam and two ATP Masters 1000 tournaments later), Federer and Nadal sit atop this year's singles Race to London with 4045 and 2235 points respectively. His only defeat came at the hands of No. 103 Evgeny Donskoy in the second round of the Dubai Open Championships. The 12th-seeded Wozniacki, a part-time South Florida resident, made the women's final for the first time in 10 tries by topping second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

What Federer has achieved so far in 2017 is the stuff of fairytales.

Clay courts also place huge demands on a player's stamina. At that point he was in his mid-20s, the career peak for most tennis players. Federer got there and smacked his backhand crosscourt, but a lunging Nadal managed to punch it past the Swiss for a victor to save it.

This season, his 19-1 record is phenomenal. "Let's see what's happening in those four tournaments".

Will Federer win the French Open?

For Nadal it was a fifth loss in the Miami Open final, the first of which came against Federer in 2005. Only two other men have defeated Nadal four straight times (Nikolay Davydenko and Djokovic).

It was the third time they have faced off this year, and their 37 all-time meeting. Nadal was seeking his 29th Masters crown and 70th at the tour level.

Federer is now 4-0 in tiebreakers this year at Key Biscayne, none of the first three as pressure-packed as the one he needed in the quarters. Now Federer suddenly has the advantage in this dozen-year-old rivalry.

Can Federer extend his run of form?

But he also knows that Federer has hit a purple patch which may not last throughout the season.

A net cord which left the Spaniard in a hopeless position at 30-all handed his opponent another chance to break, and he forced an error to take a 5-4 lead and the opportunity to serve for the title.

"That is why this break coming now in the clay court season and focusing everything now on the French, the grass and then the hard courts after that is going to be the key for me", he added. Incidentally, Federer has had to go through Nadal en route to all three title victories. We are used to seeing Nadal walk out with a little extra strut, thanks to his dominance in the past.

  • Julie Sanders