Djokovic, Federer look for Rome boost

Djokovic, Federer look for Rome boost

ROME - Agence France-Press
Djokovic, Federer look for Rome boost

Federer has never lifted the trophy in Rome, but Nadal and Djokovic each have their own shares with six and two titles respectively. AFP photo

The leading trio of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray all have work to do before the start of the French Open in a fortnight, with the Rome Masters the last tournament chance to whip their clay games into top condition.

Of the three leading seeds at the event, which began on May 12 at the picturesque Foro Italico, only number three Murray lasted until the quarter-finals in Madrid last week. Defending champion Federer was ambushed in the third round by Japan’s Kei Nishikori while Djokovic, the world’s top player, exited a round earlier at the hands of Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

Federer’s strategy of taking seven weeks off to rest some physical niggles and train backfired as he went down to Nishikori in his second match back.

As a result, the Swiss remains the only player in the current top 10 not to have played a final this season. He and Tomas Berdych, who put out Murray in Madrid, are the lone members of the elite without titles in 2013.

“I’m going to make sure I’m going to be as well prepared as I can be for Rome,” said 17-time Grand Slam winner Federer before leaving Madrid. Federer has never lifted the trophy in Rome, where Rafael Nadal (six titles) and Djokovic (two) have hogged the honours for the last eight editions.