French tennis player Gilles Simon recently gave an interview where he spoke on several topics including Roger Federer’s return in the Geneva Open to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s back and forth rivalry. The 36-year-old claimed that doing well on clay events is not a priority for Federer as the Swiss maestro is preparing himself for the grass court events later.
He also went on adding as he said that he is playing in the Roland Garros just to gain intensity and form for the Wimbledon.
“Clay is no longer really his (Roger Federer’s) goal,” Simon said. “I don’t think Roland Garros is the Grand Slam tournament he most wants to win right now. He plays on clay to hope to win matches, polish his physique and bring it all to the grass,” Simon said in an interview with L’Equippe.
The Frenchman also stressed the fact that Federer going deep in Roland Garros may exert too much pressure on his body which is gradually getting back to full fitness. Therefore he feels that the main plan is to aim for Wimbledon and Roland Garros is just to warm him up.
“There it will be more painful,” Simon said. “The Grand Slam he has in mind is Wimbledon. Roland Garros is part of the plan.”
Simon also spoke about the other two greats of the game in Djokovic and Nadal. The duo went up against each other in the Italian Open with the Spaniard reigning supreme. Nadal won the final 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
However, both players had to break a lot of sweat even to reach the finals. Nadal almost lost against Dennis Shapovalov but he resurrected himself. Whereas Djokovic played a long encounter with Stefanos Tsitsipas where he was down for a long time.
Simon feels that the inefficiencies in their play is due to their age. However he still feels that the duo will reach the finals of the Roland Garros.
“The margin is shrinking, their level of play has dropped a little with the constraints of age, but they still reach the final,” Simon said. “I found Nadal and Djokovic less efficient than a few years ago.”
The Frenchman believes that despite all the faults in their game which is shrinking their level to the others, it is their mental strength that keeps them going.
“They have less margin, they are more and more hooked by increasingly different players, they have fewer and fewer quiet matches, but … it holds! This is where you see they are strong,” Simon concluded.