Roger Federer makes his long-awaited return to action this week at the MercedesCup, competing for the first time since Miami and Roger Federer will be aiming for No 1 Spot . And right away, there is a lot on the line for the Swiss. If the top seed reaches the final, he will regain the No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings on 18 June.
Roger Federer made the controversial decision to skip the entire clay court season for the second consecutive year in 2018. In doing so, he also missed the second Grand Slam of the year at Roland Garros.
The victory at Roland Garros ensured Rafa Nadal stays top of the standings by 100 ATP points.
“I think that’s a bit of extra motivation,” said Federer, who trails Nadal (8,770 points) by 100 points. “But then again, having lost here last year in the first round, for me, it resets the goals as well, and just take it one at a time and don’t think too far ahead. Not that I did that last year, but on grass, margins are very slim. It’s not so simple, especially when you haven’t played in three months.”
“The holidays were wonderful. I had no setbacks, so I’m fit. We can only bow to each other and congratulate each other. Incredible. Absolutely only the superlatives remain there. To win a tournament at all 11 times is almost unthinkable.”
Federer holds a 2-2 record in Stuttgart, including an opening-round loss last year against Tommy Haas. But he then went on to triumph at Halle and Wimbledon, building what would turn into a 16-match winning streak.
“I came back very strong and my reaction was very good after losing here against Tommy,” Federer said. “I didn’t drop a set for the rest of the grass-court season, which I was very happy about. So I just hope I can find my rhythm and range a bit earlier. But very excited to be here. I’m motivated because of all these reasons. It’s been a while, I haven’t played matches, so I’m happy. Obviously, I don’t want to be on a three-match losing streak… I want to break that as well.”
Federer’s closest challenger in Stuttgart is world No 3 Alexander Zverev – who crashed out of the French Open in the quarter-finals.
“I think he learned a lot from the three five-set matches he played in Paris,” Federer added. “I expect a lot from him in the coming months. With such a markup and good returns that he has, there’s always something possible.”
On 19 February, Federer regained World No. 1 for the first time since 4 November 2012, holding the spot for five weeks before his loss in Miami against Thanasi Kokkinakis allowed Rafael Nadal to take it back. While Federer took the spot again for the week of 14 May, Nadal has held it since thanks to victories in Rome and at Roland Garros, which was no surprise to the 36-year-old.