Stuttgart [Germany], June 14 : Eighteen-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has committed to a full schedule in the second half of the season, saying that he's had enough of practice and is hoping to quickly recapture his stunning early-season form.
Federer, fresh off a two-month break to rest his 35-year-old body, will begin his grass-court campaign and bid for an eighth Wimbledon crown at Stuttgart on Wednesday.
"There are no more breaks now," Federer told the ATP website. "I've had enough breaks. I'm a practice world champion now and that's not who I want to be. I want to be a champ on the match courts. So I'm going to be playing a regular schedule for the second part of the season... And this is the beginning here at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart," he added. The Swiss maestro has taken the last two months off after what he described as a surprisingly successful start to the year that resulted in victory at the Australian Open and then the Indian Wells-Miami Masters double.
"I was terribly surprised to win the Australian Open and to back it up and win the sunshine double in Indian Wells and Miami was a complete surprise to me," Federer said.
The 35-year-old further insisted that Rafael Nadal's return to clay-court dominance was not unexpected.
"I think Rafa winning the French Open is less of a surprise because he'd done it nine times before... I was hoping he was going to dominate the clay-court season like the olden days," said Federer. The Swiss also admitted that Nadal is a hot favourite to finish No. 1 for the fourth time. "Obviously Rafa is in great position to finish World No. 1. For him it's going to be all about staying injury free. For me it's about getting back to winning ways, where I left off in Miami," he said. He, however, insisted that the second half of 2017 season will be much more competitive. "I'm sure a lot of guys are going to start playing their best in the second half of the season, like Murray, Djokovic, Nishikori, Raonic, Zverev, Kyrgios, Stan.
We'll all be playing our best tennis. It's going to be an epic finish to the end of the season. Quite exciting actually for the ATP Tour," he added. Federer will begin his Stuttgart Open campaign against the winner of Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert and German veteran Tommy Haas.