Prior to his defeat at the hands of Rafael Nadal in the Italian Open finals, Federer won every match in straight sets.
And despite that lack of elite competition faced until Nadal, Federer provided a brief glimpse of his tenacity. Making a deep run through the Rome Masters was crucial because the Swiss had been upset in Round 3 of Madrid to Kei Nishikori of Japan.
So, instantly responding well in Italy had to occur for any momentum entering the Roland Garros.
Federer also recognized his miscues against Nadal, as written by Mike Dawes of the Daily Mail:
Federer accepted he could not live with his dominant opponent, telling the ATP website: "It didn't go how I hoped and I was missing too many easy forehands and crucial points.
"He does an incredible job returning form the back of the court and it is hard because he covers the court so well. You need to serve accurately. When Rafa is at his best he creates opportunities in rallies and dictates. It was difficult to change."
As a result, expect Federer to buff out the rough spots and perform even better in France. A player of his established talent and experience will be able to quickly make corrections, while also adjust within a short period of time.
Given Nadal's current level of play right now as well, Federer won't have to face him until the semifinals. According to ATPWorldTour.com, Nadal has been bumped up to the No. 4 seed:
Rafael Nadal will overtake David Ferrer for World No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. The result has huge implications for Roland Garros, as Nadal's No. 4 seeding guarantees the seven-time champion cannot meet World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Andy Murray or No. 3 Federer before the semifinals.
In addition, Novak Djokovic hasn't been playing well recently. After an early exit in Madrid (Round 2), Djokovic could not finish Tomas Berdych in Italy. Factor the potential of Andy Murray sitting out and that widens Federer's window of opportunity.
Per Mike Dickson of the Daily Mail, Murray's decision is expected to happen later this week:
Mike Dickson @Mike_Dickson_DM
Andy Murray talking to specialists, French Open decision around Weds - sounds like nothing immediately conclusive with his scan.5/18/2013, 12:36:56 PM
Regardless, Federer's ability remains among the elite and a better clay appearance does bode well for Roland Garros. And a semifinals or finals appearance is realistic.
Not only would that significantly enhance Federer's confidence for this season, but it helps leading into the Wimbledon Championships, which is easily his best Grand Slam tournament.
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