Roger Federer was back on court today! Displaying some of his amazing shots, and a consistent play, he defeated the upcoming young gun Alexander Zverev, in the second round of the Rome Masters. After a prior withdrawal from the Madrid Masters citing a back injury, he was back in action today to win his 1070th career match.
He wasn’t sure if he would play till the last minute but ended up playing anyway. He has been taking baby steps to ensure he doesn’t put undue pressure on his back. He did not even expect to win today’s match, but he did so in a convincing way. He said playing today was a “calculated risk,” and is super happy that it paid off. There is no guarantee he’ll play tomorrow, though.
Federer said he played “cautious,” and didn’t decide to play until after warm-up. “Expected to lose to Zverev in straight sets”, he said.
Federer broke Zverev for a 4-2 lead in the first set and took the first set in 29 minutes only. He won 15 points out of 20 and with overall 25 winners he clinched the second set by 7-5 in 87 minutes. Zverev often found himself running down shots wide from the Swiss. At one point, Zverev was pulled so far off the court he ended up in the lap of a line judge – then hugged the official after Federer put away an easy volley.
Federer will next meet the 13th-seeded Dominic Thiem, who beat João Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 6-2, but he could not immediately confirm that he would play on Thursday.
Federer has never won Rome in his career and he said today in the interview, “It would be wonderful to win this tournament, but not this year…” On being asked why not this year, he answered, “It won’t happen, I’m so far off”
But his fans would love to see him winning and the massive crowd support even during the practice sessions reveals the whole story. They have been flocking in huge numbers just to see him practice.
But Federer said he isn’t sure of playing tomorrow. Roger said to SRF (on his back), “Right now I can stand here, and it’s better than sitting or lying down. Paris is priority; I know I can’t win here”. He added that he is stopping every 15 minutes to talk with the team. “Hope I’ll play, but I’m going practice by practice”.
“Practice has been good, I decided to play this morning and I’m happy I did, I managed it well”. I don’t know how I’m gonna feel tomorrow. I hope to feel good, baby steps right know.”
Roger Federer felt the need to play match to test himself, to be able to go to the next level of his preparation for Roland Garros. He sees Zverev in top 10 and further, top 5, maybe even number 1.
Federer also said that his health is more important than anything right now. He is not thinking too far ahead right now, “I never said Rio was my goal for the season, my real goal right now is to feel good. I’m not thinking one second about Rio now”.
He added, “The result was not important. The main thing was that I could be on the court. The last weeks & months were not easy.”
We all hope Federer will feel better and he can surprise his fans too with a trophy, but he should take his health on priority. We all wish him a speedy recovery from his injury so that can get back to a 100 % and set his sights on the big trophies that are up for grab this busy season.