HAMBURG: Roger Federer breezed into the quarter-finals of the Hamburg claycourt tournament and played down his decision to fly in the face of fashion by switching to a larger racquet.
The Swiss top seed, playing his second match since his shock second-round exit at Wimbledon, needed just over an hour to seal a 6-4, 6-3 win over 29-year-old Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic.
The 31-year-old Federer, with his world ranking down at five, his lowest for a decade, is playing in Germany with a larger 98 square-inch frame — eight inches bigger than his previous racquets.
“I guess, to some degree, it needs getting used to, just to see how it reacts on every single shot,” said Federer.
“Clearly, it reacts better to some shots. But it’s important not to think of it the whole time, not to talk about it all the time, but more just sort of go with it, fight for every point, have the right mindset, be optimistic about playing here. It’s wanting to achieve a good result and that’s what I’m doing.”
Federer, who faces Germany’s Florian Mayer, squandered 10 of his 13 break points against Hajek, including five match points in the eighth game of the second set, but prevailed in 72 minutes.
“I’m just still looking for the timing and the rhythm here, but the longer I stay in the tournament the more confident I am that I’m going to play better,” he said.