Roger Federer expects to take nearly two months off after winning the Miami Open with his only 2017 clay-court tournament being the French Open.
The 35-year-old beat Rafael Nadal in Miami on Sunday, to win his third title since January.
Federer, who sat out the second half of 2016 to recover from a knee injury, says rest will help him prepare for the French Open, which starts on 28 May.
“When I am healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this,” he said.
“When I am not feeling this good there is no chance I will be in the finals competing with Rafa,” added the 18-time Grand Slam winner after his hard court win.
“That is why this break is coming in the clay court season, focusing everything on the French, the grass and then the hard courts after that.
“I’m not 24 anymore so things have changed in a big way and I probably won’t play any clay court event except the French.”
Rafa to ‘tear it into pieces’
Federer has won the Roland Garros tournament once in 2009. If he sticks to his plan, he would sit out clay events such as the Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open, Hungarian Open, Madrid Open and Istanbul Open – the last clay tournament he won in 2015.
The break in Federer’s season arrives during his best start to a campaign since 2006. Back then he won 33 of his first 34 matches of the year, compared to his current run of 19 wins and one defeat.
Victory over Nadal sealed a third Miami Open title and added to wins at the Australian Open and Indian Wells this term.
“The dream continues,” Federer said after the win. “It’s been a fabulous couple of weeks. What a start to the year, thank you to my team and all who have supported me, especially in my more difficult challenging times last year.”
In his on-court interview, Federer backed Nadal, who has himself been hampered by injury, for clay success.
“I know everybody is working very hard on your team to get you back in shape, and keep going,” said Federer. “The clay-courts are around, so I’m sure you are going to tear it into pieces over there.”