Some comments from Roger today.
FEDERER PAIN-FREE AND READY FOR CLAY
Roger Federer has put his back injury behind him and after practising for the past four days in a secret location in the Italian countryside, is ready to launch his clay-court season here at the Foro Italico.
“I only arrived this morning (Sunday),” said the world No2. “I’ve been practising as hard as I could here in Italy – up in the hills, tucked away. I won’t tell you where as I like my privacy! Pierre (Paganini, fitness coach) was there and I was basically getting used to clay court movements – the sliding. I mixed it up with some tennis – (Stefan) Koubek was there as a hitting partner – and I made sure I did my four hours a day. At the end of the day, movement is a big part. The best clay-court players are the best movers. The only difference is, here it’s still fast even when it rains. It only gets quick in Monte Carlo or at Roland Garros when it’s hot and the dust starts kicking up, and you can see the hard court underneath. Clay is better for my back though, and I’ve been pain-free for a long time now which is great.”
Federer also dismissed his poor showing at Monte Carlo this year, when he went out in the Round of 16 to his Olympic gold medal doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka. “I wasn’t prepared for Monte Carlo due to the wedding (Federer married his long-time partner and former player Mirka Vavrinec the week before) so I went there more to see what I was missing than expecting to do well. What I was missing was my serves and my forehands, so I’ve been working hard on that and hopefully it’ll show this week.”
Having famously struggled on clay in the past, Federer revealed that Roland Garros – the one Grand Slam to elude him – is still his main aim. “Whether I am number two in the world or three, five, eight or ten, it’s not number one. Being the second best player in the world on clay is nice, but it doesn’t satisfy me. It’s not necessary to be number one, what is important is winning the French Open.”