Roger Federer says he doesn’t have high expectations entering his first clay-court season since 2016 but has enjoyed practicing on the red dirt ahead of this week’s Madrid Open.
Seeded No 4 in the Spanish capital, Federer is making his first appearance at the Caja Magica since 2015. The 37-year-old Swiss opted out of the clay swing the last two seasons but announced in January that he was ready to make a return to the surface this year.
He 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. So 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 and stuff, so this year was easy. I enjoyed myself a lot,” said Federer, whose preparation period included a four-day training block at home with British world number 85 Dan Evans.
“I’m happy I’m here and I’m happy I’m on the surface.”