Roger Federer's 2009 schedule (which starts about six weeks after his 2008 season wrapped) includes two fewer clay court tournaments.
I know, I know ... what does it all mean? His agent says Fed's trying to cut down on all tournaments and peak for the important ones -- the majors. It stands to reason, too, that because he can't seal the deal at the French, he should be playing more clay matches. However, Fed's been to three straight French Open finals. He's lost to the same dominant clay-courter every time. (Although the 2008 whomping had to be demoralizing.)
The other way to look at this: Maybe he's put too much pressure on himself to win at Roland Garros. He is still playing the Masters clay tournaments, so he will get quality opponents -- just not as many matches.
So, does Federer need more clay court play to win the French? And another twist: If he loses it again this year, will he stop trying? I open the floor.