‘Roger Federer had already started to become a phenomenon’, says former ace

Roger Federer does not appear on the entry list for the Masters 1000 in Montecarlo, scheduled (behind closed doors) in the Principality from 10 to 18 April this year, which makes the hearts of Italian fans who would like to see him beat faster at the Foro Italico. The Internationals are a taboo for Roger who never managed to be crowned king of Rome. At the same time, his relationship with the city is excellent, and the Swiss has always tried to be on the pitch at the Forum, physical permitting. His last presence dates back to 2019, when he came out in the quarter-finals against Stefanos Tsitsipas, while in 2020 he had to stop for the double operation on his right knee that kept him out for a year. It is not yet clear whether Federer will be on the pitch at Roland Garros. Playing the Grand Slam on clay may be too much for his still recovering knee. Federer’s stated goal is the summer: the ninth title at Wimbledon and gold in singles at the Tokyo Games, one of the great goals missed by the champion of 103 titles and 20 Grand Slams. Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal announced that he will not be at the Masters 1000 in Miami where he has not played since the 2017 final: “I’m sorry to announce that I will not be in Miami – he wrote on social media -, but I still need recovery and training to be ready for the season on land in Europe.” Victor Hanescu, who retired from the professional circuit in 2016, faced off against Federer six times on the tour – with the latter winning all six of those matches. In a recent interview with Gazeta Sporturilor, Hanescu made some interesting observations about the Swiss great based on their matches and off-court interactions.

Hanescu recalls first meeting with Roger Federer

“I wanted to see what it was like to play with Roger Federer, he had already started to become a phenomenon,” Victor Hanescu said. The Romanian, who lost to Federer in his only Grand Slam singles quarterfinal appearance at the 2005 French Open, revealed that he found nothing extraordinary about the Swiss during the first few minutes of their warm-up. “When I warmed up I started slowly, it was easy to play and I thought, ‘Yeah, it doesn’t seem so bad!’,” Hanescu said. “But towards the end of the warm-up, Roger Federer hit a shot with his forehand that I still have in mind. I was impressed by the speed, it was a sign that showed me that this was waiting for me.”