Federer aiming for eighth Halle title

Roger Federer smiles now, but there was a time when he never thought he’d play well on grass.

Speaking ahead of the Gerry Weber Open, Federer admitted, "I never thought that I could ever play so well in my career on grass. It was always a dream to play such good tennis on grass or even be able to play on a grass court.

“Where I grew up in Münchenstein, Switzerland, there was only sand, carpet or dirt. So a grass court was always a dream.”

The Swiss has the best winning percentage on grass courts since 1973, according to the ATP Performance Zone. He has won 14 grass court titles – seven at Wimbledon, and the same number in Halle, where this week he is looking forward to stepping up his grass-court preparations.

“Of course at this stage of my career I want to have the perfect preparation for Wimbledon,” said Federer. “That means a victory here. I want to defend the title in a tough field of competitors. That's exactly what I need right now.

In a repeat of the 2008 final, Federer opens his campaign against Philipp Kohlschreiber Monday evening.

Commenting on the first-round match with his friend and many-times training pal Philipp Kohlschreiber Federer said: “It's a difficult hurdle for both of us but it is also nice to play against one onother. It's going to be a good test. If I get through that I know that I'm in real good form and can win the tournament”, the Swiss superstar says, “because Phillipp is one of the best players on lawn in the world momentarily.”

“I've been playing great for the last 12 months,” he said. “I had the feeling that everything went well after I played at Halle last year, except in Australia where it didn't go so well. But I was confident everywhere else, so I hope I can play well here.”

As the Gerry Weber Open has joined the ATP 500 and with lots of highly skilled participants Federer is focussing on his role as a single player this year.

“In this tournament you have to win the five matches to grab the title. And that's what I'm focussing on.” His family is not with him this year in Halle - but: "perhaps they'll join me later” he says.

Federer has compiled a 29-6 record on the year, including three ATP World Tour titles at Brisbane (d. Raonic), Dubai (d. Djokovic) and Istanbul (d. Cuevas).

Date: 15th June 2015, Source: ATP and Gerry Weber Open


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