Roger Federer returns to tennis this week for his title defense in Madrid. The former No. 1 hasn’t played since a mid-March quarterfinal loss to Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells. But said said this extended break will prove beneficial in the long run as he begins a very busy stretch of his schedule.
“For me, it was important to take a bit of a rest – not too [long] – just enough so I’m really sort of tough to beat in the next few months,” said Federer.
“What we play for at the end of the day is playing in front of fans and being part of the show and achieving things in your career you always dreamed about. For that, I need to work hard as well. I need to get away from it all, so that when I do come back I’m excited and motivated. That’s what I feel right now, and that can then carry you a long way.”
Federer left Indian Wells with a back issue which he says has cleared. The 31-year-old says he feels good and ready to play his best tennis this week in Madrid and then in Rome.
“Now I feel good. I’m obviously extremely excited being back on Tour,” Federer said. “I’m sort of entering all the tournaments from here through to the US Open really, so it’s going to be a long stretch. You want to be ready for it. I’m very excited, which is a good thing.”
The second-seeded Federer will play Radek Stepanek in the second round either on Tuesday or Wednesday. The 17-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t reached a final this year and hasn’t won a title since last summer in Cincinnati and he ranks 10th in the latest ATP 2013 points only standings.
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