BREAKING NEWS: Federer to skip French Open

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Australian Open champion Roger Federer will miss the French Open in an attempt to maintain peak fitness heading into Wimbledon.

Federer enjoyed a stunning start to the season, winning in Melbourne, before adding ATP Masters 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Miami.

However, the Swiss master has been a notable absentee from the entire clay-court season - admitting that his focus was on the grass-court campaign after his 2016 was wrecked by knee and back injuries.

In a statement on his official website, he said: "Regrettably, I've decided not to participate in the French Open.

"I've been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it's best to skip the clay-court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons.

"The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognise that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward.

"Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season.

"I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year."

Federer's decision may have been prompted by the dominant form of the 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal.

The nine-time Roland Garros champion has won in Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Madrid and looks well-set to become the first man to win a grand slam 10 times.

Federer's absence means that both Australian Open champions will be absent in Paris, with fellow icon Serena Williams missing the rest of 2017 through pregnancy.