Federer happy to back up late decision

Roger Federer was the last player to arrive in Rome and is one of the last to leave but the Swiss tennis great insists his late decision to play in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia was entirely justified.

The 33-year-old was beaten in straight sets by Novak Djokovic in the final to again remain without that elusive title after four attempts. But he is delighted that he made the call to take in Rome.

“I think if you take a last minute decision and you knew you were going to make the finals, you’d play every week. I had some really good matches and today 80 per cent of the match was good too.

“I know I can play better too. Novak was rock solid today, he played great throughout, he made very few unforced errors, he was able to take that opportunity that presented itself. I’m happy, feeling good and healthy and looking forward to Paris next week.

“The conditions were totally different, there was very few long rallies today that shows the conditions were very quick, lot of bounce, something that was hard for both of us to keep the extended rallies. If we had some it was unusual because all the rallies were two or three shots points.

“It was tough to see the ball because of the sun but it was the same for both. I struggled sometimes to return serve. That’s why it was tough for me not to get the break but he was able to quickly  and grab it, get the lead and then bring it home. It’s sort of frustrating but I don’t want to get myself to down because it was a good tournament for me.”

Despite losing to Djokovic, Federer still considers Rafael Nadal, who went out in the quarter-finals as favourite for Roland Garros.

“You cannot take away the last 10 years,” he said. “It’s going to be best of five sets, we know how tough Rafa is physically and mentally. He is the favourite still to me.

“Novak at this point probably has to win, like in 2011 when he didn’t lose the whole year so it feels similar to that in my opinion. Maybe Rafa isn’t having the same success as before but nevertheless that remains the situation for me. It’s all talk, in the end it’s the racket that is going to do the talking. They are doing good and I hope it is not going to be between the two of them!”