Should Roger Federer take a last-minute Barcelona Open wild card?
The Barcelona Open commences next week following the Monte Carlo Masters, but is there a chance that Roger Federer will make a surprise appearance?
Last month, tournament director and former player Albert Costa expressed his eagerness to see Federer perform at the Barcelona Open. He would love it if Federer made a last-minute decision to play in Barcelona, for the first time in his legendary career.
In all likelihood, the Swiss is likely to need a little longer to adapt and train for the clay-court season after not playing on the surface in more than two years. But asking for a wildcard is not completely out of the question.
It could allow some extra clay-court match practice which would be vital for his preparation ahead of Roland Garros, and would also have obvious benefits in terms of ranking points. Moreover, Barcelona is just a short stop away from Federer’s next intended destination, the Madrid Masters, which he has been confirmed to play.
The calibre of players at the Barcelona Open would not be as high as compared to those at a Masters 1000. With the pressure and expectations on Federer lower than usual considering his long clay-court absence, it may well be worth a shot.
The only problem is that the tournament is very much Rafael Nadal’s home territory. He will be an overwhelming favourite to win an unprecedented 12th title here. That said, the Spaniard had only competed in three tournaments this year before the ongoing Monte Carlo Masters, and may not be in full rhythm yet.
If ever there is ever going to be a time that the Spaniard is vulnerable on clay, it is now.
A Federer fan would believe that the Swiss legend may still have an outside chance of winning the Barcelona Open. Of course, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori and Stefanos Tsitsipas will want to have a say about that, but the challenge may intrigue the World No. 4.
Whatever the Swiss and his support team decide, tennis fans can’t wait to see him on clay after such a long absence.