ROME • Roger Federer made a smart decision by pulling out of this month's French Open, where he has less chance of adding to his 18 grand slam titles than on tennis' quicker surfaces, world No. 2 Novak Djokovic said yesterday.
Federer, who announced his withdrawal from Roland Garros on Monday, said he felt he needed to avoid playing on clay this season to help prolong his career.
"You know, he's very smart in his decision-making. He knows what he's doing," 12-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic said.
"Of course he's aware he has a much better chance to win big trophies on quicker surfaces."
Federer defied age and logic to win the Australian Open in January after a knee injury kept him out of tennis for six months, and followed that up with two more high-profile titles at Indian Wells and Miami.
The Swiss is focused on being in top form for Wimbledon, which begins on July 3 and where he has won seven times.
"Grass obviously is where he feels the most comfortable," Djokovic said.
Grass obviously is where he feels the most comfortable. I'm not too surprised with the decision.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC , on Roger Federer's decision to skip the French Open to concentrate on the Wimbledon tournament.
"I'm not too surprised with the decision. I mean, he had a lot of matches played at the beginning of the year, and he did amazingly well."
At the Italian Open yesterday, German prodigy Alexander Zverev ended the hopes of local favourite Fabio Fognini with a 6-3, 6-3 third-round victory.
The Italian had previously sent World No. 1 and defending champion Andy Murray packing.
In the women's tournament, Venus Williams powered into the quarter-finals with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 victory over fifth seed Johanna Konta.
The American will meet either defending champion Garbine Muguruza or Germany's Julia Georges in the quarter-finals.
Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit, who defeated world No. 1 Angelique Kerber on Wednesday, continued to build momentum with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over 16th-seed Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
Sixth-seed Simona Halep marched past Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 in the other third-round clash. The Romanian will face Kontaveit in the quarter-finals.
Unseeded Daria Gavrilova stunned Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 to reach the final eight.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
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