After losing in the second round of this year’s Wimbledon, former World No. 1 Roger Federer surprised many by announcing he had accepted a wildcard berth into this week’s German Tennis Championships in Hamburg, Germany. Federer then kept the surprises coming by hitting with a larger, blacked out frame during a practice session before the start of the ATP 500 event.
In a pre-event press conference, Federer admitted he made the decision to ask for a wildcard into Hamburg a day after his Wimbledon loss. The Swiss star, who normally spends the weeks after Wimbledon on vacation, decided he needed more matches to help boost his confidence.
“Right now I just want to win a lot of matches and go from there into the hard courts.” said Federer who confirmed his wife and family would not be joining him this week.
Another change in Federer’s summer routine is the potential debut of a new racquet in his matches. Federer confirmed with Swiss media that he is hitting with a 98 square inch frame this week. That is eight inches larger than the frame he has used throughout this season. Tennis observers have often suggested Federer upgrade his racquet to better handle the power and pace from players on the current tour, especially from the likes of top stars Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.
Currently ranked at No. 5 in the world, Federer has so far only won one ATP title this year in Halle last month. Though Hamburg is contested on clay, the event has been a successful one for the 17-time Grand Slam champion over the years. Federer, who last appeared in Hamburg back in 2008, is a four-time winner of the event and holds a 29-4 tournament record.
“I’ve had many groundbreaking moments in my career here,” said Federer when asked about his memories of playing in Hamburg. “I first entered the top 10 as a player back in 2002 here which for me was a dream in those days. I’ve had many important victories here and I am happy to be back here again.”
After Hamburg, Federer is scheduled to compete next week at the Gstaad Open in Switzerland. He will then begin the North American hard court swing at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
Federer, who is the event’s top seed, will open his Hamburg campaign versus Daniel Brands. Federer’s good friend Tommy Haas of Germany is the No. 2 seed followed by Spain’s Nicolas Almagro as the No. 3 seed and Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz of Poland as the No. 4 seed. To review the full draw, click here.