One Which Even Fedex Doesn’t Have

Roger Fed­erer fully rested ahead of busy sum­mer as Swiss looks to break Monaco duck

The Economic Times - - Sports - Paul New­man

It is more than 10 weeks since Roger Fed­erer hit a ball in anger but the 34-year-old Swiss in­sists he is feel­ing “re­ally good” as he pre­pares to make his re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion here at this week’sMonte Carlo Masters.

Fed­erer, who plays his first match at the tra­di­tional open­ing event of the Euro­pean clay-court sea­son to­mor­row [Tues­day] against Spain’s Guillermo Gar­cia-Lopez, had knee surgery fol­low­ing the Aus­tralian Open in Jan­uary. He had planned to re­turn at last month’s Mi­ami Masters, but af­ter trav­el­ling to Florida was forced to pull out of the tour­na­ment be­cause of ill­ness.

How­ever, that dis­ap­point­ment gave Fed­erer the chance to pre­pare more thor­oughly for the clay-court sea­son. He has been here prac­tis­ing for nearly a fort­night. Asked whether such a lengthy break from com­pet­i­tive ten­nis might do him good in the long term, Fed­erer said: “I think right now there is more rust than rest, but I am rested men­tally and phys­i­cally. I feel re­ally good. I still feel that prob­a­bly ev­ery week that goes by I’m go­ing to get bet­ter.”

His aim is to be in top con­di­tion by the time the French Open starts at the end of next month. A busy sum­mer fol­lows, with the Olympic Games sand­wiched be­tween Wim­ble­don and the US Open.

Although Fed­erer is at his best on faster sur­faces he is also an ex­cel­lent clay-court player who would surely have won many more ti­tles on the sur­face if he had not been play­ing in the same era as Rafael Nadal.

Fed­erer has won the ti­tle at Roland Gar­ros once, in 2009, but has been much more suc­cess­ful at the other Grand Slam events. He has won Wim­ble­don seven times, the US Open five times and the Aus­tralian Open four times. The clay- cour t tour na­ments at Monte Carlo and Rome are also two of the big­gest events the for­mer world No 1 has never won. Fed­erer will see how he fares here be­fore de­cid­ing on the rest of his clay-court sched­ule. At this stage he ad­mits that he could miss both of the forth­com­ing Masters Se­ries events in Madrid and then in Rome, but equally he might play in just one of them or even in both. “If I win the tour­na­ment [here in Monte Carlo] it changes ev­ery­thing,” Fed­erer said. “If I lose first round 6-0, 6-0 it changes ev­ery­thing. I have to see what I feel I still need to work on. Is it re­cov­ery? Is it train­ing? Is it some- thing spe­cific? I don’t know yet. I will know more in two weeks. Then I can de­cide sort of the week be­fore Madrid I guess if I go there or not.” How­ever much ten­nis he plays in the com­ing weeks, Fed­erer be­lieves that any breaks he takes can help to ex­tend his ca­reer. “I do be­lieve that what­ever rest it is – maybe from in­jury, maybe from just a train­ing block or a va­ca­tion – it all ends up some­where in a can­is­ter where you can, like, pull from it,” he said. “You see it with Tommy Haas for in­stance. He’s been in­jured for al­most three years or more of his ca­reer, yet he’s still on tour. Be­cause he’s still men­tally fresh. He loves it.”

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