STUTTGART, June 11, 2018
Roger Federer has arrived in Stuttgart kicking off the grass-court swing on the ATP World Tour at the MercedesCup this week. Ahead of his first match on Wednesday, the 36-year-old met the media at the venue of the Tennis Club Weissenhof on Monday afternoon.
“I feel fresh. I am healthy and that’s why I am happy and confident here that things can turn out very well for me,” said Federer, who will compete in his first tournament since the Miami Open in March. The Swiss maestro seeks his first title at the ATP 250 event and can regain the No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings on 18 June by reaching the final here.
“That’s a bit of an extra motivation but I lost here in the second round last year. It resets the goals, taking it one at a time. I do not want to think too far ahaed – not that I did this last year – but on grass margins are very slim and it is not so simple, especially when you haven’t played in three months.”
Federer skipped the entire clay-court season for the second consecutive year.
“Last time I did that I came back very strong. I lost to Tommy here but didn’t drop a set for the rest of the grass-court season, which I was very happy about. I hope that I can find my rhythm a bit earlier this time. I am very excited to be here and motivated. It’s been a while since I have played matches and obviously I do not want to be on a three-match losing streak after Delpo, Kokkinakis and now here. I want to break this as well,” Federer is looking forward to the event and also showed his respect for Rafael Nadal’s 11th victory in Paris.
“I kind of expected Rafa to win the French Open. It is not taking anything away from him but he was again that good on clay leading into the French Open, which created a situation expecting him to win,” Federer stated.
His next goal will be to defend his Wimbledon crown. Federer seems to enjoy the extended grass-court swing.
“All of the players have plenty of time. This week, next week, one more week. I come from the older generation, which is used to play the French Open, doing well there, and then having very little time with Halle and going straight to Wimbledon. Everything was pretty hectic.
“Now I feel like we have plenty of time. However, you need to be careful the week before Wimbledon with injuries. For me it is a great feeling to come back as the defending champion.”
Nike or Uniqlo?
Federer arrived in Stuttgart wearing Nike apparel, which he has done since the start of his career. In 2008, the eight-time Wimbledon champion signed a 10-year deal with the US-American brand worth more than $10 million a season. However, reports in Switzerland suggested that Federer is on the brink of signing a lucrative deal with Japanese brand Uniqlo worth $30 million per year.
“It’s rumours but it’s true that I don’t have a contract with Nike since March anymore. That ran out after all these years,” Federer commented. “We’re talking and we’ll see what happens. That’s part of the game. I’ll let you know what’s going on.”