Roger Federer: ‘I hope I can come back to that level with…’

Roger Federer made his debut on the controversial blue clay in Madrid 2012 against Milos Raonic, surviving all challenges to prevail in the decisive tie-break and set up the third-round meeting with Richard Gasquet. In the previous 11 meetings, the Swiss scored nine victories over the Frenchman, and the tenth was never in doubt, beating Gasquet 6-3, 6-2 in 58 minutes to find himself in the quarter-finals. Federer lost 15 points in nine service games, dodging the two break opportunities he faced to keep the serve intact and increase the pressure on the opponent. Gasquet couldn’t match those numbers, breaking three times to push Roger into the last eight. Roger shot 31 winners and 18 unforced errors, holding the match strings firmly in his hands and dominating the opponent in each segment to advance to the next round. It was important for Federer to score such a dominating victory in less than an hour, lose a lot of energy in the first clash, and gain momentum before the next hurdle. Roger made a great start and closed the opening game with a forehand winner, delivering another comfortable serve turn in game three and stealing Gasquet’s serve with a return winner to open a 3-1 lead. Another bullet to the right of him knocked Federer forward later before experiencing first serve problems in the seventh game. The Swiss took advantage of a break opportunity to keep his serve intact and open a 5-2 gap. Serving for the set in the ninth game, Roger hit four service winners to get the job done in 27 minutes, looking good on the court and expecting more of the same in set number two. Unable to keep up or impose his blows, Richard double faulted in the first game to suffer an instant break and sprayed a backhand error at 1-3 to fall further behind. On the other hand, Federer did everything right and had a chance to serve for victory in game eight. The Frenchman created a break opportunity that Roger denied with an ace on the T line, sealing the deal with two more aces to meet in the quarterfinals.

Federer was practicing with former Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic

Roger Federer has indirectly praised Next Gen players like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev for their ability to find success despite playing amid the pandemic. While revealing that he has enjoyed watching the young stars as well as his rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal dominate the courts lately, Federer admitted that he himself would have struggled to play without fans if he had been younger. “(I had fun watching tennis) Even if there weren’t any huge surprises, with Rafa still winning Roland Garros or Novak who is world No. 1,” Federer said. “At their (Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Rublev) age, I would have suffered from playing without spectators or with very few people. When I see the guys on TV, I think the level is incredible,” Roger Federer continued. “I hope I can come back to that level, with Stan Wawrinka, too. I know that you have to win against the very best to win titles. It’s going to be interesting. I’m looking forward to meeting them.”

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