For the first time since the Australian Open in January, Federer, Djokovic and Nadal are all playing in the same event this week at the Madrid Open.

And Federer is playing on

clay for the first time since 2016 after opting to skip this part of the season in the last few years.

Last month, Nadal and Djokovic have played on the clay and both suffered surprising defeats.

Nadal lost in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open to Fabio Fognini and Dominic Thiem respectively.

While Djokovic crashed out of Monte Carlo to Daniil Medvedev in the quarters.

It means Nadal arrives in Madrid this week without a tournament win on the clay for the first time in his career and Djokovic low on confidence.

But Federer says Nadal and Djokovic’s struggles are not an issue.

He told Spanish publication Marca: “I don’t see it that way. Who is No.1 and No.2?

“It’s not like they’ve been under a rock for the last month, Rafa comes from making semi-finals in both. It sounds like terrible results but anyone would be very satisfied.

“The example is Medvedev, who everyone congratulates for making the semis of Monaco and the final of Barcelona.

“I understand that with what Rafa has won we expect more from him but there are still tournaments to be played.

“And the last one is Roland Garros, where both he and Djokovic are favourites in the best of five sets. One seeks to win the big four in the same year and the other defend the title again.”

Madrid is expected to be Federer’s only tune-up event ahead of the French Open.

And the Swiss star explained why he chose the event in the Spanish capital over Monte Carlo and Rome.

He said: “For me, it was logical to start here because I have enough time to recover before Roland Garros.

“Madrid is a great tournament, I like the organisation and I’ve had success in the past.

“It’s simple.”


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