Italian Open: Federer kept waiting as rain delays Rome start

Kei Nishikori 'Roger Federer wearing Uniqlo still looks weird'

‘In the mood’: Roger Federer seeks more clay matches in Rome

"I couldn't make the decision before the game so, unfortunately, I had to wait and see how this match plays out, if it was going to be 6-Love 6-Love or 7-6 in the third".

"I think I was playing well in Madrid, so I just said, again, "let's come to Rome, a city I like so much as well", said Federer.

The weather kept court covers firmly in place at the Foro Italico as impatient fans milled around the grounds awaiting the Swiss player's second-round match against Portugal's Joao Sousa. "Would I rather practice or play matches?" I felt like playing maybe more sea-level conditions would be good for me.

A potential quarter-final awaits against either Stefanos Tsitsipas, the eighth seed, who beat Nadal in the Madrid semi-finals, or Italian 10th seed Fabio Fognini, the Monte Carlo victor.

Federer had initially planned to play only in Madrid before Roland Garros.

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has criticised Italian Open organisers for doubling ticket prices after it was confirmed he would play.

When questioned Federer expressed sympathy, while stopping short of a full blown condemnation: 'I heard some fans clearly were not happy about it.

"That's obviously disappointing to hear", said Federer. "They rewarded the fans who bought tickets earlier, which is sort of odd, but OK", Federer said.

Federer was asked, just after his loss to the Austrian, if he had taken a call about whether playing in Rome or not. Personally I'm very happy to be here. "I mean, my excitement couldn't be bigger". The match was won by Roger Federer in 3 sets. He won his first career title in Milan in 2001. He lost one final, in Indian Wells to Thiem.

"There would be excitement, more excitement than me coming to a practice court in Switzerland. It's probably the country I've played the most junior tennis in", he said. "They have very strong junior tournaments here".

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