Roger Federer will this week step back on his favorite surface of grass at the Gerry Weber Open in Germany’s Halle and go through the familiar preparations for the defense of his Wimbledon crown. And that’s the way it will be until the Swiss finally lays down his racket because tournament organizers have confirmed Federer has committed himself to the event each year for the remainder of his career.
The traditional British grass court curtain raiser at London’s Queen’s Club has long cherished the thought of luring Federer to its event. The likes of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and now Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick as well as the expected Brits such as Andy Murray, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski have all been Queens regulars. But this agreement effectively kills off the Queens Club hopes.
Federer is clearly happy where he is and that’s hardly surprising as he has won the tournament five times in the last seven years. “I am delighted,” Federer said. “It feels a bit like I am getting married. I wanted to plan more long-term. I want to build up friendships and I get on really well with the tournament owners Ralf and Gerhard Weber.”
The small print of the press release did not specify whether Federer has committed to playing Halle every year, or only to not playing another event during the same week as the tournament. Halle and the grass-court event in Queen’s are both held the week after the French Open and compete to attract the top names.
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