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Federer adds Italian Open to French preparation

ROME -- 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 Saturday.

"Hello everybody. Just finished speaking to the team and happy to say I'm coming back to Rome to play in Italy," Federer said. "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 Sunday, and Federer has a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed. He will 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 has 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 May 26.