Roger Federer is set for a comeback in Rome, but the Swiss Maestro faces a tough road to winning his next tournament, with the rest of the Big Four and other players in the top 10 joining the Masters event.
Federer will be back to the tennis scene when he competes at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome next week following his disappointing exit at the Madrid Open. However, Federer is up for another challenging event, with Djokovic, Murray and Nadal also set to compete in Rome.
But before Federer could face any of the aforementioned contestants, the native must overcome first a difficult bracket that features a decent lineup of tennis competitors. Federer could either open against Alexander Zverev or Grigor Dimitrov, who battles each other in the opening round. There is also a chance Federer could battle Austrian Dominic Thiem in the third round, while Japan's Kei Nishikori could meet him in the quarterfinal stages.
Despite Federer's profile as the world No. 3, there is still uncertainty whether he could pull off another vintage performance to reach the final round of the tournament, considering the Swiss' state this year that saw him miss a chunk of tennis competitions, most recently at the Madrid Open.
The 34-year-old did not participate at the ATP 1000 Masters event at the Spanish capital due to a suffered during his practice session. The minor setback left Federer and his fans disappointed, but the 14-time Grand Slam winner is optimistic about playing well in Rome at the Foro Italico, a tournament he has yet to conquer.
"The goal clearly now is to play there and do well," Federer said, reports Tennis.
"I mean, I am frustrated. At the same time, I'm still upbeat ... I would rather have it being the back rather than the knee ... This is normal back things I've had in the past, which I guess is good because I know how to handle it. I know how long it can take. Sometimes it can vary by a few days here and there."
Federer has suffered from many setbacks since the start of the season. In his first tournament this year at the Brisbane International, Federer caught a flu-like virus that contributed to his final round loss against Canada's Milos Raonic.
After Federer's semifinal loss at the , the world No. 3 sustained a knee injury that forced him to be sidelined for more than two months. His post-knee surgery recovery debut at the Miami Open was delayed because of stomach illness followed by the prior to the Madrid Open competition.
It is no secret Federer wants success this year, which leads to speculations that Rome would probably be his training grounds to test his form before heading to Paris. With Djokovic and Nadal gaining steam, Federer's chances for a second title at Roland Garros are very slim, but a win in Rome should put him back as the favorite to win the French Open.