Italian Open: Federer eyes more practice on clay

Jose Verdugo
May 16, 2019

"I've come this far - I feel like he just wants to be liked so much that I just can't stand him".

He fell in the quarter-finals on Friday to Dominic Thiem, but twice held match point and for a set and a half was dominant against a player considered among the favourites for Roland Garros after Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

When informed of the decision on Tuesday during a media event, Federer did not seem particularly impressed.

"There's going to be good crowds hopefully, good atmosphere. I mean, my excitement couldn't be bigger".

Federer could come up against eight-time champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals in Rome, and Madrid Open victor and eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.

The Italian Tennis Federation justified the decision to raise prices by saying that they wanted "to reward fans" who had bought tickets before they knew Federer would play. "Regardless of what happens here, I just think it's good for me to play matches at this stage", he added.

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The Swiss was originally scheduled to take on Sousa at 11am (0900 GMT) on Wednesday but was among dozens of players kept waiting in crowded locker rooms and lounges, as organisers angered fans with a "no refund" policy after doubling ticket prices for Wednesday to reap the financial benefits of Federer's return to the venue.

"And I'm like, 'What are you talking about?' I literally played this way when I beat you the other previous times and nothing changed, nothing changed".

A potential quarter-final awaits against either Stefanos Tsitsipas, the eighth seed, who beat Nadal in the Madrid semi-finals, or Italian 10th seed Fabio Fognini, the Monte Carlo victor. He has never won this title before but has made it to the finals thrice.

"But, again, this is maybe also just a moment in time". He's a champion of the sport, one of the greatest we'll ever see. "When you beat me in Rome here a couple of years ago, nothing changed; I was the same person".

"Especially for the clay-courters".

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