Federer “Feeling Good”

Last October, Roger Federer ticked the Shanghai Rolex Masters off his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 checklist. With seven of the nine prestigious events conquered, the World No. 2 hopes it will be 12th time lucky as he descends on the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in search of his first crown.

A four-time finalist in the Principality, Federer was denied by an in-form Stan Wawrinka in last year’s title match. The Swiss admits that coming up just short of the Monte-Carlo title hurt, but he is putting the experience into perspective.

“I was close,” said Federer. “I don’t remember if I was two points or three points or four points away. I felt like I had some chances, but I remember Stan getting better. It’s something I thought about a whole lot. I was very happy for Stan.

“I like that I played very well throughout the tournament, so I look back more on how good I actually played and the final was a good one. I got quite tired in the third set and also had a horrible cold. I was not feeling like my absolute best, but still I was able to play well. Stan deserved the win because I couldn’t cross the finish line in the second set when I had to.

“I know how to put it in perspective. I know what a big win it was for Stan and what a good tournament it was for me. There are reasons to be happy to be honest.”

The 23-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion is physically and mentally ready to attack the European clay-court season, after capturing a seventh Dubai title and finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the BNP Paribas Open for a second straight year. Federer says he is recharged after taking three weeks off following Indian Wells.

“I’m feeling good about my game and my fitness,” he added. “It’s been good to work on that for the last few weeks. I came here early on Thursday to practise on Centre Court, which is something I haven’t always had the chance to do. Clearly I feel I’ve done all the right things to prepare for the clay court season now.

“For fitness and rest, I had to do it more in blocks (compared to last year). That’s why I’m happy I got a vacation behind me. For fitness, I will do another block after Monaco when I come back to Switzerland and I might do some more after Madrid. That’s the plan and it will work well for the French Open and Wimbledon and beyond.”

Federer opens against either Jeremy Chardy or Diego Schwartzman. The Swiss knows both potential opponents well, having fallen to Chardy on the clay of Rome last year and having defeated Schwartzman just last month in Indian Wells.

“This is always the first tournament after seven or so months on hard courts. So far, so good. The draws are always tough in these Masters 1000s. I either play Chardy who was playing in Houston or a qualifier who has won two matches here. I’ll follow that closely before I get ready for my first round.”

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