Roger Federer believes that after his six-month break in 2016, a new career started for him. And for the first time since 2015, he played in Cincinnati, a tournament that saw him triumphing seven times. 'It doesn't feel like I have been away for so long here from Cincinnati,' the 37-year-old admitted after his opening round win over Peter Gojowczyk.
'I guess the wheel keeps turning. It's not like I missed two years of tennis I feel like I have been here – and I was here last year briefly, but I was here, so, you know, as much as I want to say I was not here, I actually was, even on-site So, look, I felt good in that first match, to be honest, walking out, hardly any nerves.
I think I knew what I wanted to do, what I had to do. Game plan is very simple. It's straightforward. It's fast-court tennis. I think center court plays much faster than the outside courts, so you don't have much time.
Plus I knew Peter, my opponent, was going to go for it and take big cuts at the ball, so there is only so much you can really do. That's why you want to play aggressive yourself It was a great pleasure to be back. I enjoy playing here because of my success, even more so, but I have always enjoyed coming here to Cincinnati, and now we do it as a family.
That adds a different twist to it. Feels almost like I have had two careers, the one before and the one after. I'm having a great time and I'm very happy to be back.' Commenting on why he is so successful here, Federer said: 'I guess it starts first with the playing conditions, you know.
As much as I would like to say like I have won Wimbledon only because of the fans but not because of the grass courts, you know, I'm not sure if that's fair to say. Same here. So I think it starts with the conditions, the playing conditions.
I think they suit my game very well. But I definitely think events are a reflection of the place you're playing at. I'm not sure exactly how many locals are in the stadium, but I have a feeling they are from around here or nearby.
So there is definitely a different charm, different vibe to this tournament than others. Definitely the big cities, you know, where you're playing right next to London or Paris or New York or Shanghai, you know, you feel like people really come to watch tennis here.
It's not like, like I explained in an interview the other day, Oh, there is a tennis tournament? I didn't know. Let's just quickly go check it out because there are so many Broadway shows and so many other events happening at the same time and you're competing with music and other things.
So this is maybe not so much the case here this week. It's about the tennis. And you, as a player, feel that. I feel they are knowledgeable about the game, you know, which I always enjoy. That's why I like to play in places that know the game, especially for the bigger events, but of course it's always nice if you can grow a market like Shanghai or other places in Asia, you know, Dubai, for that matter, that have not seen so much tennis, so their excitement level may be even higher because they don't get to see tennis as often.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal could make important changes to his long-term schedule