28th NOVENTI OPEN June 12th to 20th 2021

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Interview with Roger Federer

Could you just give us an instant analysis of the match today and your next opponent?
I think I got out of the blocks well. I felt good right away. You know, it’s a bit of an easier court to play here in Halle than last week in Stuttgart. It’ a bit harder, so the ball bounces up a bit more. So, I felt like it was nicely in my strike zone and I was connecting well on the return right away and being able to also read maybe better the serve quite well and then after a while that kind of went away. But I had a solid first set and then I was just trying to figure out how to break him and after the one break, the crucial one, I was able to hold serve all the way. So, I think I’m very happy on my serving side and from the baseline for a first round having had hardly any play on these courts I'm very happy actually. And Benoit Paire, I played him a couple of times.
Five times.
Five times already? Jeez. So, I’ve played him five times and I enjoy playing him. He has a wonderful backhand, he also likes to come to the net. I’m not sure I have played him on grass before but sure it should be a tough match.
Roger, is it still possible that you will stay with Nike? How are the plans?
No plans to talk to you about it (laughs).
Are the negotiations going on?
Look, I answered the question last week and I explained that my contract ran out back in March. So, naturally there are a lot of talks going on and there is nothing really I have to add to it. And when the time is right and there is something to say I will. But until then I won’t really enjoy talking this conversation to be honest. Not that there is a problem but it is just one of these situations you wished it was resolved already a long time ago.
Rafa is in Mallorca this week training for Wimbledon. What are the positives or negatives that he is not playing in Queens and do you think he is going to be one of the rivals for Wimbledon?
Yes, I think he is one of the big favourites to win there, regardless if he plays Queens or not I think the key for him is going to be the early rounds in Wimbledon. There is always a few difficult first-round draws as usual. But it is a big draw, a lot of players, anything can happen. And I think – like for any top guy – I think the first two rounds at Wimbledon are very important because the grass and the courts play so different to anywhere else in the world. So, that’s the key there. Look I’m sure he’s coming with confidence, he’s had an incredible clay court stretch and if he’s practicing already that means he’s healthy. When Rafa is healthy anything is possible for him. So, I think he’s looking very good for Wimbledon.
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