Match Points excerpt: Training for clay instead of playing in Miami, the right choice for Federer?

Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and journalists Ben Rothenberg and Simon Cambers debate how best Roger Federer might prepare for Wimbledon, having returned to the Tour this month after 13 months out injured.


Having returned to the Tour after 13 months out through injury at this month's ATP event in Doha, Roger Federer is to take some more time off to raise his fitness levels as he targets a record ninth Wimbledon title this summer. Simon Cambers says he was impressed by Federer's return in Doha and believes missing Miami was a smart move for the Swiss.
"He's probably 50 percent from his peak right now, but I was impressed, I thought he played pretty well," Cambers says. "He's made big leaps pretty quickly. He's made a smart move to go back to practice because what's the point going to Miami and losing early, and then use clay for the fitness in his legs that will help him come Wimbledon."

Rothenberg: Clay is the most gruelling surface

Ben Rothenberg is more skeptical of the decision not to play in Miami, and says clay does not make the most sense for Federer if he wants to win Wimbledon.
"On clay, I don't think he necessarily wants to be peaking on the clay, or get a lot of matches on clay. it's the most gruelling surface, it's his least favourite surface and has the least to do with grass in terms of playing style. I'm not sure why clay was the targeted playing ground when Miami was right there."
Roger Federer, Doha

Bartoli: "It's about fitness"

But former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli says training in hot temperatures in Dubai will help Federer, while clay can also be beneficial to Federer as he builds towards Wimbledon.
"If he's able to practice outdoors for the next month he's going to get really fit. And I think clay for him is not about the matches. It's really about the fitness you get as you play a match."
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