Federer On Paris Title Hopes: 'I'm Not Sure If It's In My Racquet'
You can’t accuse Roger Federer of overstating his chances at Roland Garros this year. Ten years on from his 2009 triumph in Paris, the third seed is tempering expectations that he could produce a fairytale run to a 21st Grand Slam title.
“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.”
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.
More On Federer In Paris
* View Schedule: Federer, Tsitsipas Feature On Opening Sunday
* Federer's 10 Memorable Moments On Clay
* Read Draw Preview
* 2009 Flashback: Federer Completes Career Grand Slam
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 2006-08 and in 2011.
Did You Know?
Federer has a 65-16 record at Roland Garros. He has reached the second week in his past 11 appearances.