Federer Motivated With No. 1 On The Line
Roger Federer makes his long-awaited return to action this week at the MercedesCup, competing for the first time since Miami. And right away, there is a lot on the line for the Swiss. If the top seed reaches the final, he will regain the No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings on 18 June.
“I think that’s a bit of extra motivation,” said Federer, who trails Nadal (8,770 points) by 100 points. “But then again, having lost here last year in the first round, for me, it resets the goals as well, and just take it one at a time and don’t think too far ahead. Not that I did that last year, but on grass, margins are very slim. It’s not so simple, especially when you haven’t played in three months.”
Federer holds a 2-2 record in Stuttgart, including an opening-round loss last year against Tommy Haas. But he then went on to triumph at Halle and Wimbledon, building what would turn into a 16-match winning streak.
“I came back very strong and my reaction was very good after losing here against Tommy,” Federer said. “I didn’t drop a set for the rest of the grass-court season, which I was very happy about. So I just hope I can find my rhythm and range a bit earlier. But very excited to be here. I’m motivated because of all these reasons. It’s been a while, I haven’t played matches, so I’m happy. Obviously I don’t want to be on a three-match losing streak… I want to break that as well.”
On 19 February, Federer regained World No. 1 for the first time since 4 November 2012, holding the spot for five weeks before his loss in Miami against Thanasi Kokkinakis allowed Rafael Nadal to take it back. While Federer took the spot again for the week of 14 May, Nadal has held it since thanks to victories in Rome and at Roland Garros, which was no surprise to the 36-year-old.
“I kind of expected Rafa to win the French Open,” Federer said. “He was again that good on clay leading into the French Open that I thought he was going to win. So by him winning, it just creates a situation that I was expecting.”
More than anything, Federer is excited to get back on the court for match action again. He will play Mischa Zverev, who he has beaten in all five of their previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, on Wednesday.
“I’m fresh, I’m healthy,” Federer said. “That’s why I’m happy and confident to be here that things can turn out very well for me this week.”