Roger Federer has confirmed that he will play the Masters Series events at Indian Wells and Miami in March but is yet to decide if he will play the Dubai Tennis Championships starting on Monday (26 February). He also revealed the reason for deciding to play a limited schedule on clay this season.

The Swiss made a surprise decision to play the recently concluded Rotterdam Open, which he won to make it nine titles in just over 12 months. Apart from capturing the title, he was also crowned the new world number one after his win in the quarter-finals; he is now 345 points ahead of number two Rafael Nadal.

Federer can increase his lead over the Spaniard by playing in Dubai – an event he has won seven times in the past – but will decide based on his fitness. The Swiss lost in the second round last season with Andy Murray going on to win the title, his only one in 2017.

The 36-year-old has followed a "fitness first" mantra since his return from injury at the start of last year and will play a limited schedule. The clay court season begins after the North American hard court circuit at Indian Wells and Miami and Federer is yet to decide if he will play on the red dirt this year.

Federer skipped the entire clay court swing of the season including the French Open. He is certain that he will not play all the events on clay, which comprise of the Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open, Madrid Masters, the Italian Open and Roland Garros. He revealed that he will be traveling to Zambia, where the Roger Foundation has a major presence as they work on educating underprivileged children.

"Nothing has changed since this week. I'll decide about Dubai in the upcoming days and after Miami, I'll decide about clay season," Federer said, as quoted by Tennis World USA.

"It won't be a full clay court season for sure. I'm planning to do a trip to Zambia for my foundation after Miami," the Swiss ace added.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer won his ninth title in just over 12 months at the 2018 Rotterdam Open Getty