MIAMI, Mar 24 (Reuters) World number one Roger Federer is planning a full clay-court schedule ahead of this year's French Open, the only grand slam title he has yet to win.
The Swiss player says he will compete in the three Masters Series tournaments on clay in Monte Carlo (Apr. 17-23), Rome (May 8-14) and Hamburg (May 15-21).
''I'll try to play the three events...the last few years either I missed out on Rome or Monte Carlo,'' Federer told reporters at the Nasdaq-100 yesterday.
''I think that's going to be a change for me.'' Federer will start his title challenge in Miami with a second-round match against France's Arnaud Clement.
''I'm going to go early to Paris, get ready and hopefully be fine for Paris,'' he said.
The Wimbledon, US and Australian Open champion was beaten by Spain's Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2005.
''I came close last year so I'm obviously optimistic about my chances at the French,'' said Federer. ''I've grown up on the surface, you know.
''I'm just getting ready, giving myself the best opportunity.
That's really all I can do.'' The French Open starts on May 28.
Reuters DH VP0420