Roger Federer said on Monday he is eager to make his start at the Cincinnati Masters as the world No 2 begins his delayed summer hardcourt season.
With the US Open a fortnight away, Federer, 37, says he’s keen to test his form prior to the August 27 kick-off of the last Grand Slam of the season.
The 20-time major winner skipped Toronto last week to pace himself with the tournament at Flushing Meadows followed by the Laver Cup in Chicago in mid-September.
“I’ve trained hard, I’m anxious. I chose to skip Toronto for the health of my body,” the seven-time Cincinnati champion said. “I don’t want to be hurt, there is too much to play.”
The Swiss maestro however admitted that sitting out competition is difficult.
“Watching from afar is tough,” said Federer, who will start against Peter Gojowczyk after the German beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
“But that’s part of growing older, you’ve got to take care of the body.
“It’s nice to be back and I hope to have a good tournament.”
Federer last played a match on hardcourt 141 days ago, when he lost in the Miami second round to Thanasi Kokkinakis before skipping the clay season and returning on grass.
He also expressed regret that Rafael Nadal, the world no 1 and Toronto champion, had to withdraw from Cincinnati in order to ease the strain on his body after a solid, if demanding, week of success.
“It’s a pity Rafa is not playing, but it’s still an amazing draw.”