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Federer happy with racket switch

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Originally published on: 18/07/13 00:00

Having dropped to No.5 in the ATP rankings for the first time in over a decade following his disappointing second-round exit at Wimbledon, Federer rung the changes, upgrading to a 98 square inch frame.

While his rivals have long been using oversized frames, Federer had remained loyal to the 90 square inch racket that had seen him win 17 Grand Slam titles.

However, following his shock defeat to Sergiy Stakhovsky at the All England Club, Federer confirmed he had been trialling a new stick.

“After I lost at Wimbledon, I thought this is a good time to go and test the rackets, to take a bit of time off and then add some tournaments and see was there enough time to change or not,” Federer said. “I’m happy I did the change and now we’ll see how it goes. So far, so good.”

Debuting the new frame in Hamburg, Federer looked tentative in the early stages of his second-round match against Daniel Brands – a backhand shank handing his opponent the break as the German took the opening set.

However, the Swiss began to settle in the second set and bounced back to secure his place in the third round with a 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory.

“I’m pleased how it’s playing,” Federer said his new racket. “I kind of knew it from practice, so it wasn’t like just jumping into the water, but I’m very happy that under match conditions I was feeling comfortable with it. I’m satisfied.”

While Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both use a 100-square-inch heads, and Andy Murray 98, Federer had been using the Wilson BLX Pro Staff 90 in recent years,  but his disappointing performance at Wimbledon finally prompted him to make what he described as one of the biggest changes a player can make.

“I’ve been very close on numerous occasions to change rackets in a bigger way,” he said. “But then very often, time was the issue. Maybe also just the records of Grand Slams – I was always keeping on playing quarters and semis – so then it was also a bit more difficult to change it because of the time.

“This time around, all of a sudden I just had the extra 10 days, two weeks I was looking for, and I really was very serious about it. Wilson flew to Switzerland and we went through the whole process and I was very happy how things went over there.”

Federer will face Jan Hajek in the third round after the Czech qualifier upset Ernests Gulbis at the Rothenbaum Tennis Center.

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