Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Roger Federer having fun and adjusting quickly ahead of clay court return at Madrid Open

World No 4 aims to win his fourth title in the Spanish capital and third since it switched to clay in 2009

Roger Federer attends a press conference ahead of the Madrid Open. EPA
Roger Federer attends a press conference ahead of the Madrid Open. EPA

Roger Federer has said he is enjoying his return to clay court tennis and has been surprised by how quickly he has adjusted ahead of the Madrid Open.

Federer is making his first appearance in since 2015 and had opted out of the clay swing the last two seasons, but announced in January he was making a return to the surface this year.

The 37-year-old Swiss has a bye in the first round and will open his campaign on Tuesday night against either Richard Gasquet or Spanish teenage wildcard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

"It's been good. It's been fun. I was lucky, we had good weather when I started," said Federer, whose preparation included a four-day training block at home with British world No 85 Daniel Evans.

"That helped because I remember three or four years ago, when I was practicing it was snowing, like this weekend in Switzerland, and that didn't inspire me very much to go practice on clay, or go into an indoor bubble, so this year was easy. I enjoyed myself a lot."

"I'm happy I'm here and I'm happy I'm on the surface."

Seeking a fourth career title in Madrid, and third since the tournament switched to clay in 2009, Federer was drawn in the same half of the draw as top-seeded Novak Djokovic and shares a quarter with in-form No 5 seed Dominic Thiem, who beat Federer en route to winning the Indian Wells title in March.

While some rustiness on the surface can be expected, Federer admits it wasn't too much of an uphill battle when it came to readjusting to the clay these past few weeks.

"Not too much, funnily enough. It takes some time getting used to how to construct the points maybe a little bit more," he said.

"I don't high expectations in some ways, but at the same time I also know that things are possible. Madrid always plays fast with the altitude here, so I'm intrigued to find out myself. But it's been good so far."

Updated: May 5, 2019 04:16 PM

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