Federer wary on return to action

Roger Federer returns to action in Stuttgart on Wednesday following his mid-season break well aware of the dangers posed by his decision to skip the clay court season.

The 36-year-old, who can return to top of the tennis rankings if he wins in Germany, repeated his break of last year to concentrate on retaining his Wimbledon crown.

He begins his campaign on Stuttgart’s lawns with a match against German serve-volleyer Mischa Zverev.

The 20-time grand slam winner has not played since losing to Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Miami Open in March. That defeat came after another loss to Juan Martin Del Potro in the final at Indian Wells.

Last year, Federer lost his opening match in Stuttgart to good friend Tommy Haas.

“Having lost here last year in the first round, for me, it resets the goals as well, and just take it one at a time and don’t think too far ahead,” Federer said.

“Not that I did that last year, but on grass, margins are very slim. It’s not so simple, especially when you haven’t played in three months.”

The loss to Haas last year proved to be just a blip as Federer went on to win in Halle and then an eighth Wimbledon title without dropping another set.

“I came back very strong and my reaction was very good after losing here against Tommy,” Federer said.

“I didn’t drop a set for the rest of the grass court season, which I was very happy about. So I just hope I can find my rhythm and range a bit earlier.

“I’m motivated. It’s been a while, I haven’t played matches. Obviously I don’t want to be on a three-match losing streak… I want to break that as well.”