Roger Federer is looking to win the inaugural Istanbul Open this week in order to gain confidence going into the second Grand Slam of the year at the French Open.
Federer is the headline act in Turkey as he visits the country for the first time. The World No. 2 has yet to make an impact during the clay-court season following his defeat to Gael Monfils in the last-16 at the Monte-Carlo Masters a fortnight ago.
The record 17-time Grand Slam champion will be aiming to win his 11th title on clay, and having already triumphed in Dubai and Brisbane this year, the Swiss is hoping he can improve on this surface with back-to-back Masters tournaments in Madrid and Rome to come before Roland Garros.
"The French Open clearly is a big goal of mine, but to play well at the French Open I need confidence and I need to play well, and I hope I can pick that up here in Istanbul and really win a lot of matches, preferably win the tournament," Federer told reporters.
"That’s why I’m here, at the end of the day is to win this.”
Federer working on clay-court game
Federer, who won the French Open in 2009 and has lost in four finals to Rafael Nadal, has been working on his clay-court game for almost a month.
"It’s about getting used to the sliding and just wanting to decide how aggressive I want to play," the 33-year-old added.
"Clearly I play on hard court for 7-8 months like all the other players. It just takes some adjustments. For that, I’m trying to put up as many hours as I can on the clay and I think my game is going to get better and better as we move along."