Roger Federer has said he is considering a return to clay-court swing of the tour in 2019 and that he will take a call by as early as the end of the ongoing season so as to plan the buildup to next year.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion is not getting any younger and has been particular about carefully planning his stops on the tour. He had skipped action on the red dirt in the last two seasons despite returning to peak form following his Australian Open win in 2017.
Federer acknowledges that returning to clay-court swing of the tour would require considerable changes to his schedule and even add to his workload but he is willing to take the risk due to his passion for the clay.
"The clay-court season is under review. It's not off the table. I will know by the end of the year," Federer was quoted as saying by ESPN ahead of the ongoing Laver Cup tournament in Chicago.
"I would like to make up my mind ahead of time so I can plan my buildup, my fitness schedule, even the way I would approach my December practice sessions. It could benefit the clay-court season.
"[Returning to clay-court swing is] just because I want to do it. It's a full-on passion thing."
It is safe to say that Federer's weakest surface has been clay as the seasoned campaigner has managed to win only one French Open title — 2009.
He has lost four finals — all of them to 11-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal. He has not featured at the French Open since the quarter-final exit in 2015.
However, returning to clay-court swing may benefit Federer when it comes to ranking points as he is not going to be defending points on the red dirt next season.
He can opt from the three Masters 1000 tournament or play lower-rung tournaments in the lead up to the clay-court Grand Slam next year.
Meanwhile, Federer's Laver Cup 2019 campaign got off to a poor start as the world number two lost his doubles match with Novak Djokovic to Jack Sock and Kevin Anderson on Friday.