Federer 'would love to play' Nadal at French Open

Roger Federer has continued his will-he-or-won't-he dance ahead of Roland Garros, providing mixed messages on chasing a second title on the French clay.

The world No.1 has not played at the Paris major since 2015, a back injury keeping him out in 2016 before he decided against playing last year.

Federer began to strip back his schedule in 2017 to focus on the important hard and grass-court events -- with much success.

The Swiss great has since won Wimbledon and two Australian Open titles.

While rivals Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all continue to struggle with injuries, Federer is fully fit and seemingly in the best position to win a second French Open.

Nadal, the 2017 champion, has not played since Melbourne but Federer has denied his great rival's availability will play a part in his decision on Paris.

"Not at all," he said after winning through to the fourth round at the Indian Wells Masters.

"Totally based on what I am in the mood for. Do I want to change surfaces?"

When will they meet again? Pic: Getty

Since his return from injury in January 2017, Federer has impressed many tennis pundits with his strong backhand play.

It was widely seen as a key difference maker in his victory over Nadal in the Australian Open final 14 months ago -- and hope for Roland Garros.

Not that he sees it that way.

"I'm not sure how my so-called improved backhand can help me against Rafa on clay," Federer said.

"He's still the best mover on clay."

While Federer isn't convinced about his chances against Nadal, he does still want to have a crack at the Spaniard in Paris.

"I'd love to play him on clay in a best-of-five," the 36-year-old said.

"I'm curious to see how that would pan out. But I don't think I'll necessarily have a better chance than before."

The ATP world tour switches to clay in early April ahead of the French Open in late May.