The 20-time Grand Slam champion has criticised Italian Open organisers for doubling ticket prices after news came out that he will play in Rome.

Federer has returned to the clay-courts after a 3-year absence, with his last participation dating back to 2016.

The Swiss number three seed will begin his tournament in the Italian capital against Portuguese player Joao Sousa. When tackling the ticket prices issue, Federer said the decision was โ€œdisappointingโ€.

“They made it in a way like they rewarded the fans who bought tickets earlier, which is sort of strange.”

Federer added: “I just really hope it doesn’t take away the fact I’m really happy to be here. There’s going to be good crowds hopefully, good atmosphere.”

Last time he played in Rome was in 2016 when he had lost against Dominic Thiem in the third round. It was also the Austrian player who beat Federer in the Madrid Open semi-final match last week.

However, Federer was still pleased with the way he played in Madrid and said heโ€™s looking forward to the upcoming clay-court tournaments, most of all the French Open in June.

Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam out of the four that the Swiss has not won five times or more. In fact, heโ€™s only managed to win just one title in Paris and will be hopeful he can make them two at the end of this month.

His only Roland-Garros title came a decade ago when he beat Swede Robin Soderling in straight sets.

“I think I was playing well in Madrid, so I just said, again, ‘let’s come to Rome, a city I like so much as well’,” said the former world number one.

“Madrid is a tough place to play. I felt like playing maybe more sea-level conditions would be good for me. There would be excitement, more excitement than me coming to a practice court in Switzerland.

“Regardless of what happens here, I just think it’s good for me to play matches at this stage.”

Some of Federerโ€™s possible opponents later on in the Rome Open include rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas as well as eternal rival Rafael Nadal who he could face in the semi-finals if they both had to win all their matches.

Recommended ATP Masters Rome 2019 here!

*Odds are subject to change


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