Roger Federer is set to return to competitive tennis in March, and could take part in the clay court season.

The Swiss tennis star hasn’t been seen on court since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open over a year ago.

Federer was forced to withdraw from this year’s Melbourne event for the first time in the 21st century, but he’s set to return at the Qatar Open.

KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

The 20-time Major winner has given a fascinating insight into his mind in an exclusive interview with Swiss outlet SRF.

“I’ve been thinking for a long time about when and where to come back.

“Australia was a touch too early because of my knee. That hurts. It’s one of the places where I love to play the most.

“I wanted to make my comeback at a smaller tournament so that I wasn’t fully in focus and where the stress is also a little less.”

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Roger Federer could also return to clay court scene

That “smaller tournament” will be in Doha (SRF), where the Qatar Open is scheduled to take place from March 8th.

Federer has won that ATP 250 event on three occasions, and could use it as a springboard ahead of the clay court season.

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

“I’ll try to play on clay again,” he added. “The whole thing, of course, with regard to Halle, Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open.

“I want to celebrate great victories again. And for that I am ready to go the long, hard road.”

Given that clay is Federer’s least favourite surface – only one of his 20 Grand Slams have arrived on it – it is surprising to hear he is fancying it this year.

After 13 months on the sidelines, maybe he just feels he doesn’t want to miss out on any more opportunities.

The tennis world is likely to be complaining too much.

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