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Federer: "I enjoyed clay court season and Roland Garros"

“I think I surprised myself maybe with how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout. I definitely enjoyed the clay-court season and Roland Garros.”

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Federer wins fourth Miami Open title

Roger Federer produced a championship masterclass under the Florida sun, dominating reigning champ John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to win his fourth Miami title.

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Federer makes history in Dubai, wins 100th title

Roger Federer made history at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, defeating reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to win his 100th tour-level title.

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Federer in fine form as Switzerland win Hopman Cup

Roger Federer became the most successful player in Hopman Cup history when he led Switzerland to a 2-1 win in an enthralling final of the mixed teams tournament in Perth.

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Federer becomes oldest ATP World No.1

Roger Federer guaranteed his return to No.1 in the ATP Rankings after beating Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Federer into second week at Roland Garros

Roger Federer booked his place in the fourth round at Roland Garros for a 14th time on Friday afternoon, weathering a resurgence from Casper Ruud in the third set, which saw the Norwegian right-hander hold one set point at 7/6 in the tie-break. The 2009 champion eventually won 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (8) to surpass Budge Patty's 13 Round of 16 showings from 1946 to 1958.

I liked how he figured things out after going on a tough run there of nine games. The third set could have gone either way. He had chances early, then later, and then again after,” Federer said. “It was nice to see him hang in there. I thought the first set also was tough. I can see why he's going to be good in the future. He's got a great attitude, very calm, very quiet.”

Federer, returning to Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, outhit and outthought the 20-year-old Norwegian in the intergenerational battle, serving and volleying on second serves with success and avoiding lengthy rallies.

Nearly 120 points were decided between zero and three shots, while only 17 points endured for nine shots or more.

I enjoyed the match. I thought it was tough, even though I had a good run there for a while. And that also is very important for me to know, that I can run through a set and a half and just take care of business and gives me confidence for the next match,” Federer said. “The first goal has been reached by getting this deep into the tournament, and knowing where the game's at, knowing where the fitness is, the mind.”

He will next face Argentine Leonardo Mayer, who beat French wild card Nicolas Mahut 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (3) to make his first Round of 16 at Roland Garros during his 10th main-draw showing here. Mayer also made the fourth round at the 2014 Wimbledon (l. to Dimitrov).

Federer said before his third-round match that he probably knew more about Casper's father and coach, Christian Ruud, who joined Federer in three Roland Garros draws from 1999-2001, than he did about Casper.

The 20-year-old was playing in his first Grand Slam third round and made his best ATP Masters 1000 showing earlier this month by making the Round of 16 in Rome. He hung with Federer to start, but the Swiss broke twice in each of the first two sets to take the lead.

Ruud rallied in the third, breaking early, and although he was unable to consolidate, he stepped into the court to force a tie-break, where Federer clinched his fourth match point.

“I feel that my 20 years on the tour went too fast almost,” Federer reflected. “When you play against people like Casper Ruud, you ask, ‘how was it at the time?’ When I started on the tour he was hardly born.”

And today Federer became the first player to play 400 Grand Slam matches.

It's true I played many matches in Grand Slam tournaments, and it's even more pleasant to do this in Roland Garros, because I have a lot of records, milestones from Wimbledon or the US Open. But doing anything in Roland is very special, because I played a lot here. It was my first Grand Slam where I was in the main draw, Federer said.

Date: 31 May 2019, Source: ATP and Roland Garros

Federer returns to Roland Garros in style

Roger Federer, the 2009 champion returned to Roland Garros on Sunday with a straightforward 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win against Italian Lorenzo Sonego, four years after hitting his last ball on the Parisian clay. The Swiss broke five times and hit 36 winners to get off the court in less than two hours.

“There has been some pressure in the beginning, obviously some nerves, many people wanted to know how it was going to be for me, how I was going to be back.

“There has been a lot of attention lately with my return. When I started the match, I started it well, so it shows that the pressure is not acting on me,” Federer said.

“I was right away playing well on the centre court here in Roland Garros. The duration of the match wasn't a problem. No problems with my body before or after the match. And then I have two-and-a-half days. It's ideal for me for the start of the tournament.”

Federer missed 2016 Roland Garros because of injury and chose to skip the 2017 and 2018 clay-court swings to prepare for the grass-court season.

But he's returned to the European swing with success this year, making the quarter-finals in both Madrid and Rome, although he pulled out of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome because of a leg injury, a decision Federer later described as “precautionary”.

“Now I'm very happy I took that decision, because I enjoyed Madrid, I enjoyed Rome. I'm happy to be here. The reception I got today was crazy, was really nice to see a full stadium for a first round like this. It was a beauty. So I'm very, very happy,” Federer said.

The Swiss won his only Roland Garros title 10 years ago, beating Swede Robin Soderling in the final to complete the Career Grand Slam. He made the quarter-finals in 2015, falling to countryman Stan Wawrinka. Federer will next meet German lucky loser Oscar Otte, who beat Tunisian Malek Jaziri 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.

Federer is 23-3 win-loss this season and has picked up two titles, in Dubai and Miami, from three finals reached, yet he feels he comes to Roland-Garros as an "outsider" with the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem considered the top three favourites for the title.

For a 20-time Grand Slam champion, not being the top contender sounds ridiculous, but he's relishing the moment either way.

“It's nice to be an outsider. That's how I feel, anyhow. Just see how it goes. I know when Wimbledon comes around, sure, I'll be probably a higher favourite,” said Federer, who has a record eight Wimbledon crowns.

“That's okay, too. I'm happy that I'm there where I am. For many years it was either, if I don't win, it's a disappointment, and you explain yourself in the press room. People, like, don't understand why you lost. And so I feel like if I lost first round or in the finals or wherever it is, people would be, like, 'Okay, that could have happened'.

“I like that approach for me also once in a while. It relaxes you on the bigger points maybe or it relaxes you subconsciously as you walk through the grounds and go to practice and go to the press room. This is not a show I'm putting on. This is the truth. I really don't know how far I can go in this event, and I am very happy with my first round. It was a really good performance, I thought, from my side for not having played here for as long as I did.”

Date: 26 May 2019, Source: ATP and Roland Garros

Federer relishes French Open return after 3-year absence

Ten years on from his 2009 triumph in Paris, third seed Roger Federer is tempering expectations that he could produce a fairytale run to a 21st Grand Slam title in Roland Garros.

“I’m not sure if it’s in my racquet,” the 37-year-old said when asked if he could go all the way. “But I hope I can get myself in that position deep down in the tournament against the top guys. But first I need to get there and I know that's a challenge in itself.

It's definitely going to be an exciting tournament mentally to go through.

Federer, who treated himself to a day off from practice Friday, plays Italian World No. 73 Lorenzo Sonego in the first round. Seeded to meet Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, if Federer goes on a run in Paris he could confront 29th seed Matteo Berrettini in the third round, Marco Cecchinato or Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round and Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marin Cilic or Stan Wawrinka in the quarters.

Federer last played Roland Garros in 2015. After skipping the entire European clay swing the past two years, Federer this year reached the quarter-finals in Madrid (where he held two match points against Dominic Thiem before losing) and in Rome (where he withdrew after playing back-to-back matches the previous day). After getting his clay legs, the five-time ATP year-end No. 1 says that he feels ready for his 18th Roland Garros campaign.

“I think I have been able to train hard enough and also got the necessary tough matches in Madrid and Rome. I really feel like playing under the pressure and playing with the nerves was important for me so I feel totally ready,” he said.

“I feel like before every Grand Slam of course if you can avoid tough, long matches in the beginning, it's going to increase your chances for the tournament later on. But in some ways I'm happy to be here and I just want to get through that first round to get the campaign going. That's my focus right now, not think too far ahead.”

Unburdened by expectations, Federer can swing freely and let the results take care of themselves.

“I played here for many years. I started here at 20. I won here 10 years ago. It has been one of the greatest moments in my life, so I don't know what to expect as far as the results are concerned. It's a bit like in Australia in 2017. I had no expectations. I'm just happy to be back in good health. Up 'till now I would say my preparation has gone well. In Madrid, my body reacted well to a surface I haven't played for many years. So today I took a day off, because my team felt I didn't have anything more to prove in training.

“I will play 45 minutes tomorrow, and it seems I'm playing on Sunday, so I'm ready to start.”

In addition to his 2009 triumph at Roland Garros, which saw him complete the career Grand Slam, Federer also reached the final in Paris from 2006 to 08 and in 2011.

Federer has a 65-16 record at Roland Garros. He has reached the second week in his past 11 appearances.

Date: 25 May 2019, Source: ATP

Federer: "I'm very happy to be in Rome"

In the end, coming to Rome for the first time since 2016 was an easy decision for Roger Federer, a four-time finalist at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Would Federer rather practise in five-degree weather in Switzerland, or play matches at one his favourite cities in the world, in front of thousands of passionate Italian fans?

I've just come from practising for five weeks after Miami. I think I was playing well in Madrid, so I just said, again, 'Let's come to Rome,' a city I like so much as well. There would be excitement, more excitement than me coming to a practice court in Switzerland. I thought that would be nice,” Federer said, smiling.

Honestly, I love to play matches. Regardless of what happens here, I just think it's good for me to play matches at this stage.”

The 37-year-old last played at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome in 2016, falling to Dominic Thiem in the third round. Federer also lost to Thiem last week in the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open, where Federer ended his three-year absence from the surface.

After the loss on Friday, Federer said he was unsure if he'd play in Rome. But he made up his mind quickly, posting a video on social media on Saturday in which he confirmed his presence.

I'm very happy to be here. I'm pumped up to play well. I mean, my excitement couldn't be bigger,” Federer said. “The moment I landed in Rome yesterday, I was so happy to be here. I love this city. Always enjoyed playing in Italy. It's probably the country I've played the most junior tennis in. Coming down from Switzerland to the clay courts was always a logical junior trip. They have very strong junior tournaments here. I love being here, especially in this city as well.”

Rome is one of only two Masters 1000 tournaments that Federer has not won, in addition to the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters. The Swiss reached the Rome final in 2003 (l. to Mantilla), 2006 (l. to Nadal), 2013 (l. to Nadal) and 2015 (l. to Djokovic).

Despite his long break from playing on clay, Federer said, he felt little rust during his return to the surface last week in Madrid.

“I think it always goes back to the fact that I did grow up on this surface. Sliding is something I actually enjoy doing. The problem is, like, the more time I spend on clay, maybe sometimes the more excited I get playing on the surface, start sliding around too much instead of actually moving sometimes like on the hard courts and only sliding when really required,” said Federer, who will face Portugal's Joao Sousa in the second round.

I think this week, then next week in Paris, it's going to be interesting to see how I play the points, how I do it all. In Madrid, like we said, conditions were extremely fast, so you could play serve and volley, you could come to the net. Here maybe it's easier to play drop shots, easier maybe to go backhands up the line. On fast courts it's maybe not so simple to do that at will.

I must say also in practice in Switzerland I felt good right away. Very happy where I'm at, to be quite honest. I was a bit surprised that it went as easy as it did.”

Date: 15 May 2019, Source: ATP

Federer to play in Italian Open

Roger Federer has announced that he will continue his 2019 clay campaign by playing in Rome for the first time since 2016. The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who has reached the final at the Italian Open on four occasions, confirmed his participation in the event in a video on his Twitter page.

“I’ve just finished speaking to my team and I’m happy to say I’m coming back to Rome to play in Italy. I can’t wait, it’s so exciting, it’s been too long. I'll see you there,” said Federer.

The Swiss player, who is the No. 3 seed, will receive a bye in the first round before facing either Frances Tiafoe or Joao Sousa in the second. Borna Coric is a potential third round opponent while he could face Italy’s Fabio Fognini or Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals. No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, who defeated him in a thrilling three-set match in the quarterfinals in Madrid on Friday, feature in the bottom quarter of the draw and could provide potential semifinal opposition.

This will be the 17th time Federer has played at the Foro Italico. The 37-year-old made his debut here in 2000 and reached the final in 2003 (l. Felix Mantilla), 2006 (l. Nadal), 2013 (l. Nadal) and 2015 (l. Novak Djokovic). This year marks the first time he has played on clay in almost three years.

After skipping the clay swing entirely in 2017 and 2018, it seems Federer is not only looking to keep himself match-sharp for the grass-court season but hoping to win what would be a 21st grand-slam title in Roland Garros.

Date: 11 May 2019, Source: Rome

Federer: "Losing with match points is the worst"

Roger Federer says he is happy with his clay form, despite missing two match points in a Mutua Madrid Open quarter-final loss to Dominic Thiem on Friday. It was his first red-dirt tournament for three years.

“I feel very good about my game,” admitted the three-time former Madrid champion, shortly after losing 3-6, 7-6 (11), 6-4 at the Caja Magica. “I thought I had some good matches here, especially the last two. The first one was good to get into it. Obviously, Gael and Dominic are tough on the clay, so it was a good battle. I feel good on the clay right now.”

The Swiss recorded the 1,200th match win of his career on Thursday by saving two match points against Monfils, but could not convert match points at 7/8 and 9/10 in the second set tie-break against Thiem on Friday.

“It’s frustrating, clearly,” said Federer. “Losing with match points is the worst, so that's how I feel. But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it's all good.

“I had a great week. People couldn't have been friendlier to me. I thought I played good. I have good memories from this place, so of course I can see myself coming back, but I don't know at this point.”

Federer, who features in next week’s Internazionali BNL d'Italia draw, admitted he will make a decision on his participation at the Foro Italico in Rome over the weekend.

“I couldn't make the decision before the game so, unfortunately, I had to wait and see how this match played out today. I wanted to keep options open and that is why I'm in the draw. I'll probably only decide on the weekend.”

Federer, a winner of two ATP Tour titles this year at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Tsitsipas) - his 100th career crown - and at the Miami Open (d. Isner), now has a 20-3 match record on the season.

Date: 10 May 2019, Source: ATP

Federer records 1200th match win in Madrid

Roger Federer completed the 1,200th match win of his illustrious career in dramatic fashion on Thursday for a place in the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals. The Swiss superstar saved two match points to become the second player in the Open Era to hit the milestone, joining American Jimmy Connors (1,274), with a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (3) victory over No. 15 seed Gael Monfils of France in two hours.

Monfils won just nine points in the first set, but he found his rhythm to lead Federer 4-1 in the second, prior to the Swiss coming within one point of a 5-4 advantage and a chance to serve for a historic milestone. Monfils countered to take a 4-1 lead in the decider, before Federer started his own comeback in a tense finale on Manolo Santana Stadium.

Federer saved the first match point on a second serve at 5-6, 30/40, attacking the net to finish the point with a smash winner. He saved a second match point, two points later, when aggression off his forehand kept Monfils off balance. Federer was continually forced to rely on a second serve and attacked the net to create the error.

In the deciding set tie-break, their first since the 2010 Rolex Paris Masters that Monfils won, Federer took a 3/0 lead and maintained his service advantage for a 20th victory of 2019 (20-2 overall). The 37-year-old is now also 87-0 in matches where he has won a set 6-0.

"I just felt not so confident to win the point from the baseline, so I said panic mode is switched on and we are coming in," said a smiling Federer about the first match point he saved. "Regardless of how and what and when, there were no more tactics except to serve it to the forehand to mix it up and you go to the net as quick as possible so you are as close as possible and I framed the first volley, which ended up being perfect."

The three-time former Madrid champion, playing his first tournament on clay in three years, will now prepare to face fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, runner-up at this ATP Masters 1000 event for the past two years. Thiem leads Federer 3-2 in their ATP Head to Head series, including victory in the BNP Paribas Open final in March.

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, Thiem pushed his winning streak to seven matches by beating Rolex Monte Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-5 to reach the last eight at the Caja Magica.

Date: 9 May 2019, Source: ATP

Federer wins on long-awaited clay return

Switzerland's Roger Federer breezed through his first match on clay in three years, downing Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-3 on Tuesday in the Round of 32 at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Having last played on clay in May of 2016, Federer needed just 52 minutes to clinch the victory, finishing with 28 winners against 20 unforced errors. He converted all three break point opportunities and did not face one on his own serve.

"It feels good to be back on the clay," Federer said. "I enjoyed it. Some of these rallies, where you get pushed to the side, you slide. You can play in a different manner than you do on the hard courts or the grass."

The 37-year-old Federer skipped the clay season the last two years to make sure he was fit for the rest of the year. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is preparing to make his first French Open appearance since 2015. He has won two hard-court titles this season, in Dubai and Miami. He is a three-time winner in Madrid, with his last title in 2012.

"Super happy to be back here in Madrid. The crowds and the ovation I got before and after the game were great. It really makes you feel like that was the right choice to come to Madrid, so that felt good," Federer said. "The first game went well. I didn't think Richard was at his best, far off. But from my side, it was a good match."

The Swiss was gliding on the red dirt and thinking clearly with his shot selection. He offered a couple "Are you kidding me?" drop shots, including one during a service return, to close out the opening set. Federer finished with 28 winners to 20 unforced errors.

Gasquet, who was playing in only his second tour-level match of the year after undergoing groin surgery on 18 January, recovered well in the second set, stretching Federer wide during rallies. But the Swiss' attacking tennis was too much for the Frenchman, and Federer won the final two games to improve to 18-2 in their ATP Head to Head series and has won their past 22 sets.

"It was nice seeing Gasquet back after so many months being away from the Tour with injury. I think for both of us it was a special match being back here in Madrid," Federer said.

"Crowd was great. It's been wonderful. I think, always in Spain, I've been well-received over the last decade or so just because of my rivalry with Rafa and all the other Spanish players, like Ferrer and so forth. So the people really know me. They followed my matches closely for so many years. They heard me speak, and they feel like they kind of know me. So then when I come to their markets, I think they appreciate it, and so do I. Full house, special atmosphere, so I appreciate it."

The fourth seed in the tournament, Federer had a first-round bye. He will next face either 15th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils or Hungary's Marton Fucsovics, who downed Belgium's David Goffin 6-4, 7-5 in first round.

Date: 7 May 2019, Source: Reuters, ATP and AP

Federer don't have high expectations on clay

Roger Federer is returning to clay-court action for the first time since 2016 Rome this week at the Mutua Madrid Open. The 37-year-old Swiss is happier on the red dirt compared to the last time he competed on the surface, but not for the reason you might think: it hasn’t been snowing in the build-up.

“It's been good. It's been fun. I was lucky, we had good weather when I started. So that helped because I remember years ago - three or four years ago - when I was practising it was snowing, like this weekend in Switzerland, and that didn't inspire me very much to go practise on clay, or go into an indoor bubble and stuff,” Federer said. “This year was easy. I enjoyed myself a lot.”

Federer has shown good form this season, winning 18 of his 20 matches, including his 100th and 101st titles in Dubai and Miami, respectively. His 75.9 winning percentage on clay throughout his career ranks third among active players. But the three-time Madrid champion is not putting too much pressure on himself to perform.

“I have not high expectations in some ways, but at the same time I also know that things are possible,” said Federer, who will face Richard Gasquet or Estoril semi-finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first match. “Madrid always plays fast with the altitude here, so intrigued to find out myself. But it's been good so far.”

Federer officially announced that he would return to clay this year at the Australian Open, and he has not regretted that decision since. He hasn’t evaluated his training or overthought being back on clay - Federer is just living in the moment.

“I'm happy also that the decision I took last, I guess around December, when I started feeling like I definitely want to do the clay, that it was the right decision,” Federer said. “I haven't looked back at the clay-court build-up yet, or everything that I have been doing, like maybe I shouldn't have. I'm happy I'm here and I'm happy I'm on the surface.”

Switching surfaces is never the easiest task, especially when playing on one for the first time in three years. But Federer hasn’t run into too much difficulty adjusting.

“It takes some time getting used to how to construct the points maybe a little bit more. Because there is more baseline play, there is a possibility to play with more angles and height, I guess, off a hard ball you can roll it and spin it and go loopy, whereas on a faster court you almost have to hit against it. It is hard to take pace off the ball,” Federer said. “So from that standpoint, it's been interesting and fun. But not so challenging, to be honest.

“Then again, matches might be a completely different story because in the practice it is always okay to take chances and not get rewarded, you walk away from any and you're like, ‘Who cares?’. In the match, every point matters, so it will be interesting to see how as the tournament goes.”

Besides Federer returning to clay, one of the bigger news items in Madrid is that former World No. 3 David Ferrer is playing his final tournament here, where Federer has beaten him twice.

“I'm a big admirer of his work ethic and personality. Of course, also his success,” Federer said. “But the person comes first and he's - the guy has been so solid for the past 20 years. He's always been the same guy and I have always appreciated that.”

Federer may lead Ferrer 17-0 in their ATP Head to Head series, and they would only be able to meet in the final here, but the Swiss does not see their relationship based on results.

“I see a guy. He's at my level and I look to him eye-to-eye, and so I'm happy for him that he was able to take the decision and really he seemed genuinely happy because he is also playing well now at the end of his career and he can go out on his terms and for any top athlete like he is, that is the dream, that you can leave on your terms,” Federer said. “He has all the respect from my side. He doesn't need to prove himself anymore. And I just wish him all the very best for what is to come with his family and his future.”

Date: 5 May 2019, Source: ATP