2017 Nitto ATP Finals
Roger Federer in 2017 Nitto ATP Finals Reuters

The career of Roger Federer is studded with the most glorious triumphs and unparalleled levels of success. Yet, there is one Grand Slam where the 37-year old veteran has found the going tough – the French Open. This is not as strange as many would think. Andre Agassi won just one title at Roland Garros while Pete Sampras didn't get any.

Federer did win the 2009 edition of the clay-court grand slam but a big reason for that was the ouster of Rafael Nadal in early stages by Juan Martin del Potro. Apart from this, he made four appearances in the Final of this event, losing all of them to Nadal. He absented himself from the last three editions of the French Open to focus on his favourite Grand Slam – Wimbledon.

Comeback in 2019

But this year, Federer is making a comeback to the Phillipe Chatrier arena. Many have surmised that this could be the last appearance in this event by the 20-time Grand Slam winner. But the 2009 champion is not yet ready to give up hope for another appearance next year.

"Each tournament can be the last," Federer said in a rather philosophical strain. "I do not see my arrival at Roland Garros this year as if it was the last. I want to play it as I wanted 10 years ago, it does not change. I will be happy if I win a few games and if I can perhaps spend the first week there. We do not know the draw, it's hard to talk about it. But it would be a shame to go to the French Open for the last time this year. It would be sad, but I will give my best," the Swiss legend added in an interview to French television show 'Stade2 France.'

However, the signs are not good. The very fact that he hopes only to 'win a few games' and not go all the way suggests he himself is not convinced of his chances in the least favourable of all grand slams for him. While the reports of the demise of Federer's career have been circulating since 2011, he has shown amazing resilience and tenacity to not only continue to play at the highest level but also win more grand slams.

But if he is coming back to French Open after a gap of three years, and that too without much confidence of making it into the second week of the tournament, it could well be an attempt at one last hurrah at the historic arena. With both Nadal and Djokovic looking in good touch on this surface this season, stopping them would be extremely hard. Besides, with advancing age, Federer may give up this event to focus on his beloved Wimbledon and hard-court tournaments where he is more at ease. Let's hope that the 2019 edition of French Open witnesses a great performance from Federer.