x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Roger Federer needs a bit of confidence, says Pete Sampras

Swiss master's struggles have more to do with confidence than equipment, according to the 14-time grand slam champion, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Pete Sampras insists that all former world No 1 Roger Federer, above, needs to get his mojo back is to win a few tough matches that will restore his confidence.
Pete Sampras insists that all former world No 1 Roger Federer, above, needs to get his mojo back is to win a few tough matches that will restore his confidence.

As Roger Federer returns to action on Tuesday, at the Cincinnati Masters, both diehards and detractors will be glued to the action.

The Swiss ace skipped the Rogers Cup at Montreal last week and claims he is "fit again" and "mentally motivated" as he gears up for his first match since a shock defeat to German Daniel Brands in the first round at Gstaad last month. In the tournament before, at Hamburg, he was knocked out by world No 114 Federico Delbonis in the last four.

Federer could not "enjoy" those two tournaments because, he says, "I just had too many problems with my back and my body".

Questions over his troublesome back, then, will dominate the conversations at Cincinnati, where Federer has triumphed five times. And, of course, pundits will continue their debate over his experiments with a larger racket.

Pete Sampras, the 14-time grand slam winner, said Federer's struggles have more to do with confidence than equipment.

"He just needs to win some tough matches," he said. "Once he does that, he will be fine."

That could indeed be the case.

Federer has a 30-10 record for the year but only one of those wins has come against a top-10 player – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open.

Since then, he has played a top-10 player five times and lost all five.

With a potential quarter-final against Rafael Nadal looming at Cincinnati, the match could just be the spark Federer needs.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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