Federer to play clay-court tourney

MONACO -- Roger Federer has accepted a last-minute wild-card invitation to play in the Monte Carlo Masters next week.

The second-ranked Federer is a three-time finalist at the clay-court tournament but has never won. Last year, Rafael Nadal beat Federer 7-5, 7-5 in the final.

Nadal will be going for his fifth straight title at the tournament in Monaco, which will include nine of the top 10 players. Only sixth-ranked Andy Roddick will miss the event.

Tournament director Zeljko Franulovic said Thursday that "we never gave up hope that [Federer] would be present."