Rodger Federer has said it is “go time” as the grasscourt season kicks off at the Noventi Open in Halle, Germany next week.
The 10-time Halle champion said he has seen “improvement and no setbacks” since returning to the Tour in March after over a year out due to two knee operations.
Finally, major pieces come together for first-time French Open finalists
French Open stays old school when it comes to calling lines
Federer initially eyed a return at this year’s Australian Open a year after exiting the 2020 Grand Slam at the semifinal stage, but slow progress in his recovery delayed his comeback.
He played his first match back at the Qatar Open but said he was targeting full fitness for the grasscourt season and wants to reach his peak by Wimbledon, where he has won eight of his 20 Grand Slam titles.
“I probably would have taken the place I am today,” the 39-year-old, who pulled out from the French Open last week to protect his body after a gruelling third-round win, told reporters on Friday.
“March was still very early days for my comeback but I just felt like it was a good time to come back. I thought that Doha actually went extremely well overall because I know my expectations were close to zero over there. So I’m happy I was able to play two competitive matches over there.
“Ever since I’ve only seen improvement, no setbacks. After I guess the two operations I have to be extremely careful with every move I do. But now it’s really go time. This is essentially where the season really hopefully starts for me.”
Since pulling out of Roland Garros, Federer had his first hit on Thursday at the ATP 500 event at the German city of Halle, where he has won 10 titles.
The Swiss said he had low-intensity practice for 30 minutes but felt his body had recovered from the rigours of the claycourt Grand Slam in Paris.
“The knee just needs always extra care, and I hope it’s also going to react well to the grass,” he said, adding that he feels “all my strengths get amplified” when he plays on grass.
“I’m going to probably push a little bit more in practice this afternoon or maybe tomorrow, just to get the body ready for the grass courts, and I hope I have no negative reactions.
“I’m pretty positive about my chances… I’m confident that somehow I’ll be fine in the coming days. But of course I want to stay injury-free. That’s the most important [thing] right now.”
Question looms over Vanessa Bryant lawsuit against Los Angeles County: What does she want?
The widow of Kobe Bryant wants retribution for what happened last year after her husband and daughter died in a helicopter crash.
But what kind of retribution? And how much?
Vanessa Bryant is suing Los Angeles County, accusing county sheriff’s and fire department employees of improperly sharing photos of dead bodies from the site of the crash that killed nine, including the NBA legend.
As the case heads to trial in February, perhaps the biggest question hovering above it is what her goal is for it.
Andy Murray’s wedding ring and shoes returned following Indian Wells disappearance
Andy Murray’s wedding ring and tennis shoes have been recovered after they seemingly disappeared in the California desert.
The three-time major winner is preparing for action at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and left his tennis shoes outside underneath his car to dry out overnight – but they were nowhere to be seen when he returned in the morning.
And it was only when his physio asked about his wedding band that he realised he had left the ring tied to his shoes.
In an Instagram video posted late on Thursday, which was shared on Twitter by the ATP Tour Murray said: “I just want to send a quick message to say a huge thanks for all the messages and also to everyone for sharing the story about the shoes and the wedding ring.
“(I) had to make a few calls today and chat to the security at the hotel and everything.
“Little update for everyone,” he said as he raised the shoes into view.
“Would you believe it, they still absolutely stink but the shoes are back, the wedding ring is back and I’m back in the good books. Let’s go.”
The shoes are back. 👟
The ring is back. 💍
Let’s go, @andy_murray!!! 💪#BNPPO21 pic.twitter.com/hA5VKX98mm
— ATP Tour (@atptour) October 7, 2021
In an earlier post, Murray light-heartedly appealed for the return of the ring – to help him smooth things over with his frustrated wife.
He explained leaving his shoes to dry out under his car as “I have no balcony in my room and I didn’t want to leave them in my room as it would stink the room out”.
Murray married his long-term girlfriend Kim Sears in 2015 at Dunblane Cathedral. The couple now have four children.
The Scot is due to play France’s Adrian Mannarino in the first round at Indian Wells on Friday.
NASCAR Star Has Brutally Honest Admission On Michael Jordan
Legendary Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan has a very commanding presence, both on and off the basketball court.
In recent years, Jordan has gotten involved in other sports, namely NASCAR. The NBA Hall of Famer is part owner of 23XI Racing, which is co-owned by Denny Hamlin.
The NASCAR team features Bubba Wallace and is adding Kurt Busch for the 2022 season.
Busch, a veteran NASCAR driver, had a brutally honest admission on his meeting with Jordan.
“I mean he is the GOAT. The situation, the way it all came together, it was this impressive meeting out in Sonoma earlier this summer. Right away, I got along with him. Just with the way he was chill but also presented this aura about him. ‘We will win. We are here to win. This is what this is about,’” Busch remembered in an interview with SiriusXM. “And it was like, ‘Yes sir.’ He’s like, ‘Don’t call me sir.’ I said, ‘Alright, let’s win.’”
Busch is excited to get going for 23XI Racing.
“It was just easy right away to piece together what the contract is,” he recalled. “Monster Energy was incredibly excited about it. Toyota, they were the ones behind the scenes, kind of pushing for a veteran to jump in the program and move the needle with 23XI. I’ve raced a long time for a lot of different legendary owners and Hall of Famers in NASCAR. MJ definitely has a different presence about him.”
The 2022 season should be a fun one.