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Rediff.com  » Sports » Federer revived for another French Open assault

Federer revived for another French Open assault

Last updated on: May 20, 2011 14:32 IST

I am feeling great now, says Federer

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A rested Roger Federer will come out swinging when he begins his French Open campaign after being left behind by favourites Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal.

The Swiss 16-times Grand Slam champion has struggled this year, having won only one title in Doha, but believes he can win his first major since the 2010 Australian Open.

Having lost in the third round of the Rome Masters to France's Richard Gasquet last week, Federer benefited from a few extra days off before the Paris showcase event.

"I'm definitely happy to have a couple of days off -- two, three or four days off to feel physically and mentally fresh for the French Open," the former world number one told reporters in Rome.

"I am feeling great now and I'll practice when I get to Paris and that is the plan so it is in the same the last few years.

"This time I will get a couple more days of which is not bad," added the current world number three.

Photographs: Reuters


Image: Roger Federer

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'Important for me to get back to being number one'

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Federer, a less formidable player on clay than any other surface, won the 2009 French Open after Nadal slumped to a shock defeat to Swede Robin Soderling, whom Federer beat in the final.

He should arrive in Paris without any kind of pressure, although the sense that the mighty Swiss is no longer a force has been irritating arguably the game's greatest ever player.

"There is nothing to panic about. (The Rome defeat) will not affect my preparation and work for the French Open.I will be fine," he said, even looking beyond Roland Garros.

"It's still important for me to get back to being number one. I mentioned after Wimbledon (last year) it was a goal of mine.

"It's still very real and possible. I think I can do it if I win one of those Grand Slams."


Image: Roger Federer

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'It's definitely an interesting time right now'

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The French Open is expected to prove a tough ask, even if Federer found comfort in taking a set from Nadal in the Madrid semi-final.

"I again was really close up against Rafa and so all I need to do is to get that step further," insisted Federer.

Another problem is that the red-hot Djokovic is also a further step up the ladder.

But that does not ruffle Federer.

"It's definitely an interesting time right now that Novak hasn't lost all season long," he said.

"It makes it a new, different situation, but for me it doesn't change a whole lot."


Image: Roger Federer (left) with Novak Djokovic

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