Federer aims to get '100% comfortable' on clay

Roger Federer was denied a 12th time in his bid for the elusive Monte Carlo Rolex Masters title, and admitted that lack of comfort - both on clay and against Frenchman Gael Monfils - contributed to his third-round exit Thursday.

“It's the very beginning of the clay court season,” said the four-time Monte Carlo finalist. “It's going to take me some time to feel 100 per cent comfortable... Not many guys are perfect this week. But it was a good week for me anyways to come here and practise with the best, play a couple of matches. At least gives me some information, if I'm trying to be a bit positive right now.”

Federer held a 5-3 lead in the second set tie-break, only to see Monfils win four straight points to clinch the 6-4, 7-6(5) win.

“I never felt at ease, and I never felt the way I wanted to be on the court,” said Federer, who was attempting to record his 200th match win on clay.

“There are many things I could have done better. I could have served better. I could have mixed it up a bit better. Also I didn't play my slice backhand well enough. There are some things I did a little bit better and some other things I didn't do well.  Anyway, I never felt comfortable during the whole match… I only have to accept what went wrong and go from there.”

The 33-year-old Swiss shared that he would return home and “practise really hard” ahead of the inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open, which gets underway in 11 days, followed by the Mutua Madrid Open.

“I think the only thing I need to do is go out on the court and practise,” he said. “I need to play many hours and see what works best. We will analyse the practice I had on clay and those matches with Seve (Luthi) and (Stefan) Edberg.  We'll try to see what the problems are. I think the important thing is to play well in practice and to play many sets. I'll be able to see what works and what doesn't work.”

It marked just the second time since last year’s Roland Garros that Federer had lost before the quarter-finals of a tournament. Ahead of Monte Carlo, he had made back-to-back final appearances in Dubai (d. Djokovic) and Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic).

“I'm very happy how I worked, how I felt, how my body is, how mentally I feel like I'm in a good place,” said the World No. 2. “It's really my earliest loss besides the Australian Open probably in a year, since Rome last year. I've had a very consistent run. I'm aware of this.

“This is not going to put me under too much. I know it's the first tournament on clay. Of course, I was really hoping to do better because I felt there was an opportunity. Unfortunately, Gaël played well today. It was always going to be a tough match.”

Date: 17th April 2015, Source: ATP


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