Roger Federer set to play ‘special’ final match of career on Friday with Rafael Nadal on the line at the French Open
Rafael Nadal will face Roger Federer at the French Open as the world’s No 1 will make a rare appearance in Sunday’s final at Roland Garros, having played the last five games of an Australian Open semifinal against Marin Cilic on Saturday and a second-round match at Wimbledon over the weekend.
Federer returned from surgery on his back, which he suffered in February, on Saturday, having been forced to pull out of the Australian Open with a hip injury in the second set of his round of 32 match against Denis Istomin.
The Swiss No 1 will not face a qualifier in the French Open finals, which comes to the end of the clay-court season. Only a quarter of the 32 finalists have competed on the surface and there are 10 points available for Federer – the last time he faced a quarter-finalist on clay was in 2013, when he lost in three sets to Tomas Berdych and was beaten 7-6, 7-6, 6-3 by Marcos Baghdatis.
After a break of several weeks, Federer will play his 19th final of a clay-court season at the French Open, but the 32-year-old looks set to play his final match, a first at the tournament, on a surface he is already familiar with.
The last time Federer played a final on the clay at Roland Garros came in January 2009, when he beat Andy Roddick in two sets. Then on March 4, 2008, Federer also broke the world record in the last round of a tournament – the Australian Open final – on a surface that had not been used until that time.
Federer’s return comes at a time when top-ranked Novak Djokovic is struggling in a major title race. Following Sunday’s final, Djokovic is set to face Spain’s David Ferrer in the semi, the first time he and Federer have