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Former world number one Roger Federer will head to the French Open next week looking to once again challenge for a grand slam title. The 29-year-old hasn't made a major final since his victorious Australian Open campaign at the beginning of last year, leaving Federer stuck on 16-grand slam titles. The winless run is Federer's longest since 2003 and the signs don't look too much in his favour about his chances at Roland Garros next week and those looking for French Open tips need to bear this in mind.

For one of the first times in recent years, Federer will head to a major tournament as the third seed, with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal taking the top two positions. Federer has seen the two start the year in much better form than himself, with Djokovic unbeaten in 2011 altogether and Nadal once again looking in prime condition on clay. Despite the Serb beating Nadal in their last two finals, the Spaniard has been the king of clay in recent years and will once again be favourite to triumph in Paris for the sixth time. Those looking at the French Open specials should remember this.

Federer's third round exit at last week's Rome Masters was his latest disappointing tournament this season, but the Swiss maestro has been quick to look at the positives of the extended rest ahead of the second grand slam of the season. Federer finally claimed his maiden French Open title in 2009 and another title here could very well salvage his struggling career.

"I'm definitely happy to have a couple of days off - two, three or four days off to feel physically and mentally fresh for the French Open," he said.
"I am feeling great now and I'll practice when I get to Paris and that is the plan so it is in the same the last few years."
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