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As the Madrid Open gets underway, Roger Federer on Sunday (May 5) said he was confident in his decision to return to clay after a three-year hiatus, if not in his chances to win the tournament.

“It was the right decision because I haven’t looked back at the clay court build up yet or everything that I’ve been doing and been like, ‘ah, maybe I shouldn’t have’. I’m happy I’m here and I’m happy I’m on this surface,” he told reporters.

Though he said he has been feeling good during clay training, Federer seemed to manage expectations a bit on how the tournament might play out.

“I have not high expectations in some ways, but at the same time I also know that things are possible. Madrid always plays fast with the altitude here so yeah, I’m intrigued to find out myself, but it’s been good so far,” he added.

Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro also tamped down expectations on Friday as he prepares to return to his first tour since February due to knee injury. “Well, I’m definitely not a favourite,” the world number eight joked before adding that Rafael Nadal, Federer and Dominic Thiem top the list of favourites.

Thiem, however, put Nadal at the top and said he is among a group of players he said can also, “go very far at each clay court tournament.”

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