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Tuesday June 18th, 2019 9:43AM

Federer adds Italian Open to his Roland Garros preparation

By The Associated Press
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ROME (AP) — Roger Federer has added the Italian Open to his schedule.

A day after his three-set loss to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open quarterfinals, Federer announced his plans in an Instagram video on Saturday.

Federer says, "Hello everybody. Just finished speaking to the team and happy to say I'm coming back to Rome to play in Italy. Can't wait. It's so exciting. It's been too long. I'll see you there. Ciao tutti. Bye bye."

The Italian Open starts on Sunday and Federer has a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed. He'll open against either 37th-ranked Frances Tiafoe or 75th-ranked Joao Sousa.

Federer is a four-time runner-up at the Italian Open, which he's never won, making it one of the few significant trophies the 20-time Grand Slam winner hasn't claimed.

He skipped the clay swing the past two years to remain fit for the rest of the season. He decided to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015.

Roland Garros starts on May 26.

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