“I wouldn’t start the tournament unless I felt comfortable (going full tilt), but I’ve only been really serving at my normal pace the last couple of days,”
“I’ve been trying to build it up slowly to time it right for the beginning of the tournament... the elbow has been feeling better every day, so I am positive about that.”
He followed that up by winning the Madrid Open later that year, beating Spaniard Rafa Nadal, arguably the best clay court player of his generation.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing on clay, but I never quite figured out the movement,”
“The last couple of years, I spent lots of time with my team in training and preparation, working on it. Timing my slides better. Once I did that, it’s such a big part of my game and how I play that it just felt much more comfortable.
“That showed in my results, and obviously winning matches and tournaments on the surface builds your confidence as well.”
“This tournament has got a lot of history. I’ve come here many years, and I do enjoy it,”
“It would be nice to reach the final here. It’s not going to be easy, the first tournament back after a while, but I’ve been feeling good and hopefully I can do it.”