Healthy Federer Eager To Return At Stuttgart
Swiss star looks for positive return
Roger Federer didn't watch much of the tennis from Roland Garros, including the final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The Swiss star was too busy spending time with family and getting ready to make a run of his own at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart, which kicks off the grass-court season on Monday.
Federer, who pulled out of Roland Garros because of a back injury, was rehabbing and making sure he'd be healthy for a strong grass-court campaign. On Sunday, he said withdrawing from the Grand Slam was the right move.
“I feel much better again. It's been a good last three weeks. No setbacks,” Federer said in Stuttgart while the Roland Garros final was taking place. “My back's good again. I feel much stronger. I was pretty fragile three weeks ago.”
Federer, 34, had played at Roland Garros every year since 1998. Missing the tournament was emotional at first, he said, but he knew that skipping it this year would be the right move for the long run.
“It was much better for me to look forward to the rest of the season, rest of my life, really. I didn't want to have setback after setback and injure myself maybe further,” Federer said. “In hindsight, that was definitely the right decision.”
At the MercedesCup in Germany, Federer will join other Top 20 players, including Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Gilles Simon. The World No. 3 is eager to finally play in a tournament again. Federer has played in only four tournaments this year, including two since the Australian Open. He underwent knee surgery in February and has had to withdraw from other events because of a stomach virus and his aching back.
“It's been a tough year,” Federer said. “I'm super excited about playing another tournament."
One of the all-time best grass-court players should feel at home in Stuttgart. The tournament switched from clay to grass last year. Federer will be playing in the event for the first time.
“They've done a really nice job here. I think it's a huge step for them to go from clay to grass,” he said. “I hope it's something good for the future for this event, and I can't wait to play in it.”
Federer receives a first-round bye and is scheduled to play #NextGen star Taylor Fritz or a qualifier in the second round.