Federer 'feeling great' ahead of Stuttgart Open


Roger Federer is feeling back to his best ahead of the Stuttgart Open, after missing the French Open following a succession of injury and illness concerns.

The Swiss underwent knee surgery after the Australian Open earlier this year, and his presence on the ATP Tour was further limited by a bout of illness.

He was then forced to withdraw from the French - the first time he has missed a major since the 1999 US Open - with a persistent back problem.

But after a period of rest, the 17-time major winner is feeling fit again as he gets his grass-court season under way in Stuttgart this week.

"I feel great. Pulling out of the French Open was the right decision," he said in a media conference on Monday.

"I would have been able to compete and maybe get another record, but it would have been a great risk for the rest of the season, my career and my life after tennis. So I had to take some time off and now I am ready to come back and play on grass.

"I had no setbacks in recent weeks, which is very important. I trained a lot, was often in the gym. I will keep working hard so I will be ready for my first game on Wednesday or Thursday.

"It hasn't been a great year for me so far. I was only able to play one tournament at full strength, the Australian Open. Since then a virus has kept bothering me.

"But every time I play on grass I have high expectations. With the season I am having I have to be careful preparing myself and with how high my expectations are.  

"I have to see from training to training, from game to game. If I am able to win some games and reach the semi-final, of course I will want to win this tournament. But thinking of winning the title right now would be a little bit early."