Federer Feeling Fresh
For Roger Federer, who had been sidelined since the Australian Open, a series of unfortunate events has its silver lining.
“I am rested mentally and physically. I believe you can add everything to the back end of your career, in terms of being fresher mentally and being able to train harder. Whatever rest it is, it ends up in a canister you can draw from,” said the Swiss, who underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery for a meniscus tear after his semi-final showing in Melbourne. “Tommy Haas, for instance, has been injured for more than three years in his career, and he is still on tour because mentally he is fresh and he still loves it.”
The 34-year-old Federer had been slated to return at the Miami Open, but was forced to pull out due to illness.
“I’m happy to say that I’ve recovered well from the virus in Miami,” Federer said on Sunday during his pre-tournament press conference at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. “At first, I was concerned that it might be something that would last a while, but I was feeling better three days later. I arrived in Monte Carlo nine or 10 days ago and I’ve been training on centre court for the past eight or nine days. Things are going well. I’m happy with how I move; how I’m hitting the ball. I’ve played a lot of practice sets.”
The additional preparation has been a boon for the four-time finalist (2006-08, 2014), who is looking to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for the first time.
“[Monte Carlo] is an opportunity for top guys to play more freely, since there is less pressure and it’s a change of surface for everyone,” Federer, who lost to Rafael Nadal in his first three finals and to Stan Wawrinka two years ago. “I’ve played very well in Monaco in the past, but for now my objective is to make my return to play, gain a good feel and go from there.
“My knee hasn’t bothered me, but the big test will be seeing how it reacts in match conditions. There are no easy draws in a Masters 1000, so I am not underestimating anyone. At the same time, I hope no one is underestimating me just because I’ve been hurt.”
Federer has a first-round bye and will face either Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or Thomaz Bellucci in his opening match.