Roger Federer says he would 'rather be in Rafael Nadal's or Novak Djokovic's shoes' despite another win at the French Open.
Federer is playing his first Grand Slam since January 2020, and he moved into the fourth round after a battling display against Dominik Koepfer on Saturday.
He was short of his best, and often appeared to be struggling for fitness throughout the 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 win, but he was still able to find the answers.
However, afterwards, whilst he declared himself happy with how it went, he admitted he would still rather be in his rivals positions in terms of their tournament-preparedness.
“It’s fun in some ways not knowing, like in '17 when I came back or when nobody really knows, even [I don’t] know what is possible,” Federer said.
“That's got a fun angle, but I would prefer it differently. I'd prefer to be in Rafa's or Novak's shoes right now where they're like, ‘I’m feeling good. If I'm playing well, I'm winning.’
“I don't have that feeling right now, so for me these are all stepping stones to something that is really important to me. It's the season, and it's the comeback. I need matches like these.”
“I thought it was very important for me. I clearly hadn't practised three hours [and] 35 [minutes], because that's obviously always pushing it. I pushed as much as I could, as we thought [was] reasonable.
“This today was I think a huge step forward for the team, and for all of us. I didn't expect to be able to win three matches here, and sort of back up a good performance [against] Cilic as well in completely different circumstances tonight. So I'm very happy.”
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