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Federer Vows To Bounce Back

Madrid, Spain

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer vowed to hit the practice courts in search of the rhythm he was lacking against Kei Nishikori.

While defending champion Roger Federer admitted he was disappointed with his performance in a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 defeat to Kei Nishikori on Thursday at the Mutua Madrid Open, the Swiss confirmed he will be straight back on the practice court to find the rhythm he was lacking in his third-round loss.

“I'm going to go back to the practice court, train hard, and make sure I don't have these kinds of days anymore,” said the Swiss, who will slip back behind Andy Murray at No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. “I was lacking control from the baseline, and that pretty much carried through from start to finish. I'm pretty disappointed with my play. I'm not sure how well Kei thought he played. I didn't think he had to play his very best either, which is even more disappointing.

“At least I'll come out with some ideas of what I need to work on,” said the 31-year-old Federer, who was playing his first clay-court tournament of the season. “Clearly the ball flies here and it's faster, so that makes it sometimes trickier to find your rhythm. We're so accustomed to always finding that rhythm eventually, so it's even more disappointing if you never really find it, which was the case today. 

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“Credit to Kei. He got it done and was more solid in the wind. He played better than I did, so the better guy won today, that's for sure.

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“I feel like I want to go to the practice courts this afternoon, but clearly I'm not going to do that. I'm going to make sure I'm as well prepared as I can be for Rome. I'm excited for that, because clearly I have no choice but to hit the practice courts. And I like to do that, and I'll do that well and hard,” said Federer, who goes to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia searching for his first title of the season.

Despite disappointment in defeat, 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer said he was pleased to see the ATP World Tour’s rising stars beginning to shine in 2013. Two days ago, Grigor Dimitrov sent shockwaves through the Caja Magica as he battled cramps to oust World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the second round. The 21-year-old Bulgarian also reached his first ATP World Tour final at the start of the season in Brisbane (l. to Murray). 

Meanwhile, Nishikori won the third title of his career in February as he lifted the trophy in Memphis (d. Lopez) and fellow young gun Milos Raonic added to his growing collection this year with victory in San Jose (d. Haas).

“Clearly I think the extra year on tour last year helped them,” assessed Federer. “That was to be expected, that they were going to have a bit of a breakthrough this year. That's nice to see. I think it's exciting and good for the game that not-so-well-known and younger guys are beating the top guys. It's good to see. It means they believe in it. I hope we'll see more of it in the future.”

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