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By Chris Oddo | Saturday, May 24, 2014

 
Roger Federer French Open 2009

Despite losing his only match in May, Roger Federer tells reporters that he feels a touch stronger heading into Roland Garros.

Photo Source: AFP

Though he missed Madrid and suffered an early upset at the hands of Jeremy Chardy on a blustery day in Rome, Roger Federer says he’s coming into this year’s French Open full of confidence and feeling much stronger than he was last year.

More: Andy Murray Says He's "Fairly Close" to Hiring New Coach

“For me, I feel like I'm in good shape,” Federer said. “I know where my game is at. I'm not worried that, you know, maybe like you say that maybe there is not enough matches, all of that. I have actually played really a lot already this season, so it also has its positives.”

Federer has been at home for much of the past three weeks, spending time near the newest additions to his family, his twin sons Leo and Lenny. But the time away from the tour allowed Federer to sneak in a lengthy training block that he feels has helped his fitness ahead of Roland Garros.

“Again, because I was home and it gave me more time to train, I think, you know, I have become again a touch stronger in the last few weeks and months really, which was important after the year I had last year that I do take those opportunities when I have them to work very hard,” he said.

Federer also pointed out that he’s currently full of excitement while others on tour may be a bit ground down after two grueling weeks on the clay in Madrid and Rome. “It's an important stretch now for me, and I don't want to come into this tournament, you know, uninspired or tired,” he said. “That will be the worst thing. So for me it's really about being fresh mentally more than anything at this point.”

Another reason that Federer comes in with confidence to Roland Garros is his new racquet. No longer unsure of how to handle his new, larger-framed model, Federer is now ready to start enjoying the extra power that it allows him.

“That racquet gives me more power and makes it easier,” Federer said. “I have more margin because it's a bigger racquet, and also on my backhand when I topspin it's better, and when I slice or I put a lot of effect on the ball, sometimes the ball flies a little bit."

Federer said any anxiety that he once had over switching to the the new stick has been quickly resolved. “At the start I was a little bit surprised, but I saw that, in fact, it was very easy for me to change racquets after all those years,” he said. “Now I'm very happy because I can play very well with it. I believe it's very simple to play with this racquet. With the older one, I needed to struggle with it every day. So I have no regrets.”

Federer will begin his 16th Roland Garros campaign by facing Lukas Lacko of Slovakia. He owns a 1-0 career edge against the world No. 88, having defeated him in the first round of the 2011 Australian Open.

 

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