Refreshed and Ready: Federer excited to compete again

What a difference a month makes.

Thirty days ago, Roger Federer’s early exit in the Australian Open third round surprised fans and fellow player alike. Despite coming into the first Grand Slam of the year on the heels of a title run in Brisbane and an historic 1,000th ATP World Tour victory, the World No. 2 struggled to find his rhythm in his four-set loss to Andreas Seppi.

On Monday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, a refreshed Federer looked sharp as he dispatched of Mikhail Youzhny in under one hour, extending his ATP Head to Head record over the Russian to 16-0. Afterward, the Swiss explained the virtues of playing without reservations.

“The last thing I want to do is lose back-to-back matches playing careful,” said the six-time Dubai champion. “I know I can play careful tennis, but then you cannot leave it up to the other guys sometimes if you are going to win or lose.  I feel over the years I have won my biggest matches in most tournaments by playing on my terms, and you can't always do it.  It's difficult to come out and dominate every match, every point, and it's also hard work always playing aggressive.”

During his time away from competition, Federer relaxed at the beach, trained and planned his tournament schedule for the coming year, admitting he has his projected schedule set through the summer of 2016. And while he enjoyed the respite from the day-to-day grind, he is ready to compete again.

“It's nice getting back out there and having thousands root for you and for your opponent, because you can only practise that much after a while without anybody watching you,” said Federer, who lives and trains in Dubai during much of the season. “It just gets a bit boring after a while. So I prefer to play matches after all.

“I'm lucky enough to be put on prime time most of the time so people come out and watch me play often… So I appreciate that, and it's definitely keeping me on the tour longer.  There's not a doubt about that.”

In addition to extending his 43-5 record at the tournament, the 33-year-old will look to do damage on the doubles court with the help of Swiss countryman and Davis Cup teammate Michael Lammer.

“Michael Lammer was one of my best friends on tour and in my life, and he's a guy I have never played doubles with,” Federer explained. “So I really want to do that before he retires because he's not far off.”

“I have played doubles with Marco [Chiudinelli], with Yves [Allegro], with Stan [Wawrinka], but never with Michael other than back in the Junior Swiss Championships when we were 14, 16, 18.  So we go way back. That's why we are both excited about it, and I'm very thankful for the wild card from the tournament organisers.”

Date: 24th February 2015, Source: ATP


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