Federer salutes Nadal’s return to tennis
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (dpa) – The return to tennis of Rafael Nadal last week got an appreciative passing glance from Roger Federer on Monday, with the Swiss understandably much more concerned about taking aim at a third career title at the Rotterdam World Tennis.
The Swiss who won the Dutch title a year ago as he returned to play the indoor event for the first time since his 2005 trophy success, tackles this edition with a Wednesday evening start in the first round against Slovenian Grega Zemlja, whom he beat in January, 2012.
Nadal … lost in Chile final
The world number heads field, with last year’s losing finalist Juan Del Potro on second and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on third.
“I’m happy to see Rafa back and playing on the Tour,” said Federer of his returning rival’s loss at the weekend final in the Vina del Mar final in Chile to Horacio Zeballos. “He seems to have good energy.
“I was surprised he lost a final against a player ranked outside the top 50. It’s nice to see him playing well again. I’m sure he got a lot of information about his game last week.”
The first seed of the week was eliminated on opening day as Romanian Victor Hanescu beat number seven Jerzy Janowicz 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. The Pole broke through last November in a shock finals showing after starting as a qualifier at the Paris Masters.
French fifth seed Gilles Simon reached the second round over German qualifier Daniel Brands 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 while Slovak Martin Klizan beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Federer said that he agreed with Andy Murray’s call for more anti-doping blood testing in tennis, saying that while he felt the sport was very clean, the extra scrutiny would hopefully deter anyone from even considering trying to cheat.
“We should be more in terms of blood testing,” said the 31-year-old. “I also support the biological blood passport, with information stored away. It’s important to make sure that tennis is credible and clean to a maximum.
“We don’t want players even getting the idea to cheat. Of course we need more funding. Maybe the Grand Slams should put in more since they have the most to lose if one of their players is not clean.
“I feel tennis is very clean, there’s maybe one case a year and they are not all done on purpose. Some are just mistakes, but stupidity can get you into trouble also.”
While he won’t play the Miami event in late March in favour of practising and preparing for clay, Federer is this week starting a three-event run of title he won a year ago. Rotterdam will be followed by Dubai and Indian Wells before he takes a pause and resumes on clay in Madrid a few weeks before the start of the French Open.