Tennis: Federer confirms Paris Masters participation

Switzerland's Roger Federer during a press conference on Oct 30, 2018..
Switzerland's Roger Federer during a press conference on Oct 30, 2018..PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Roger Federer on Tuesday (Oct 30) confirmed his participation at this year's Paris Masters after a three-year absence.

The Swiss world number three will play Canada's Milos Raonic on Wednesday after receiving a bye in the first round.

Raonic fired 23 aces as he outlasted France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) in his opening match.

"I feel like it's better for me to play matches rather than practice, and I think that's it. As long as I don't feel like I'm taking a chance on my health prior to London (the ATP Tour Finals), that's the key as well," Federer said.

"I'm happy to play tomorrow. I feel like I recovered well from last week. So yeah, I'll give it a go tomorrow. I'm excited," he added, after winning the Swiss indoor championships in Basel on Sunday.

Federer's only tournament victory in Bercy came in 2011. On his last appearance in 2015 he was knocked out by American John Isner in the round of 16.

It will be the first non-Grand Slam event to feature Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic since last year's Indian Wells Masters.

Federer also revealed he had received an invite to take part in an exhibition featuring Nadal and Djokovic in Saudi Arabia in December, but the 37-year-old said he turned down the approach.

"I didn't want to play there at that time. So, for me, it was a very quick decision," said Federer.

Nadal and Djokovic are scheduled to meet in Jeddah on December 22, but they have faced growing calls to withdraw following the murder of a Saudi journalist in the country's consulate in Istanbul.

Both players this week have said they are assessing the situation and have yet to make a final decision over their participation.

Nadal, who has never won the Paris Masters, begins his campaign in the French capital against compatriot Fernando Verdasco.

Meanwhile French hopes of success in Paris were dented when Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Jeremy Chardy and Benoit Paire were eliminated in the first round on Tuesday.

World number 57 Herbert was beaten by Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin in three sets (3-6, 6-3, 7-5) while Jeremy Chardy, ranked 40th, lost 6-4, 6-4 to Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

The 56th-ranked Paire made the opening round through the qualifiers but lost 6-4, 6-4 to Hungary's Marton Fucsovics.