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Roger Federer v Tommy Haas ATP Stuttgart live stream: Federer starts Wimbledon preparations at the Mercedes Cup Stuttgart

Brendan O'Neill 14 Jun 2017
  • Roger Federer faces fellow veteran Tommy Haas in the first round of the Mercedes Cup Stuttgart
  • Federer vs Haas Mercedes Cup tennis is live from Stuttgart on Wednesday at 3.30pm local/2.30pm BST

After skipping the clay-court season, Roger Federer returns to action on grass at the Mercedes Cup Stuttgart against fellow golden oldie Tommy Haas.

Federer vs Haas Mercedes Cup tennis is live from Stuttgart on Wednesday at 3.30pm local/2.30pm BST. Watch and bet on tennis live from Stuttgart at bet365 > live streaming > tennis


The build-up to Wimbledon starts in earnest on Wednesday when Roger Federer, the first of the top players to get going on grass, takes on Tommy Haas at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.

With most of the rest of the top players resting their bodies and minds after the rigours of the clay-court season and the dust still settling from Sunday’s French Open climax, one man is rested and raring to go – and that man is Roger Federer. 

World no. 5 Federer voluntarily sat out the clay-court season this year to protect his 35-year-old body, leaving the stage free for Rafael Nadal to dominate after Federer took a decisive upper hand in their ongoing rivalry in the early months of the year, beating Nadal at the Australian Open, at Indian Wells and Miami. All three were tournaments Federer won as he made a triumphant return from his six-month absence following last year’s Wimbledon semifinals, when the Swiss star decided his knee surgery in February merited a longer break from competition. Many felt it was the end of his career, at least when it came to peak performance, but Federer’s superb performances on his return, when he not only looked rejuvenated physically but played as if he was revitalized technically and tactically, gave the lie to that prediction.

‘I was terribly surprised to win the Australian Open and to back it up and win the sunshine double in Indian Wells and Miami was a complete surprise to me,’ Federer said in Stuttgart. ‘I think Rafa winning the French Open is less of a surprise because he'd done it nine times before... I was hoping he was going to dominate the clay-court season like the olden days. 
‘But I'm still surprised we were able to do it. It maybe had something to do with Murray having a bit of a letdown after his great finish to last year and Novak not playing his absolute best. We were able to take advantage of the fact that we were in great shape and came refreshed into the season after our injuries at the end of last year.’

Now Federer and Nadal are likely to be in competition for the year-end world no. 1 ranking – an eventuality which would have seemed deeply unlikely 12 months ago – but Federer’s sights are set on a nearer and dearer prize: Wimbledon, where he is a seven-time champion. It’s undeniable that prioritizing Wimbledon will have played a role in his decision to skip the clay-court season and Roland Garros.

‘There are no more breaks now,’ Federer said. ‘I’ve had enough breaks. I'm a practice world champion now and that's not who I want to be. I want to be a champ on the match courts. So I'm going to be playing a regular schedule for the second part of the season... And this is the beginning here at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.’

Federer had also skipped the French Open when he made his debut at the Mercedes Cup last year, beating Taylor Harry Fritz and Florian Mayer before losing to Dominic Thiem in the semifinals in three sets. But that doubt-ridden season is a million miles away from how confident and rested Federer must be feeling as he prepares to start his campaign this week.

First up for Federer is an extremely familiar face – long-time fellow pro and friend Tommy Haas. 

'We have known each other for a very long time,' Haas said of Federer. 'We started to get closer around the time when my fiancée and his wife became friendlier. Then we had kids and started to hang out much more. We used to have the same agent, Tony Godsick, who is a very close friend of mine, so it was always an easy connection. [Federer] is a first-class guy. I have great times with him and I am happy to call him my friend.'

Tommy Haas  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images For BMW)
If Federer is defying expectations with the level of performance he’s mustering at age 35, it’s surprising enough that Haas is still playing at 39, having turned pro all the way back in 1996. Ranked high as world no. 2 in 2002, Haas never won a Grand Slam but did claim 15 career titles, including two on grass – in Halle in 2009 and 2012 – and Stuttgart back when it was a Masters 1000 Series event played on clay in 2001. 

Notoriously unlucky with injuries, Haas hasn’t been able to play a full ATP World Tour season since 2013, when he made it back to world no. 11. In 2014, he shut down his season after Roland Garros to have surgery on his shoulder and when he returned a year later, had lost all his ranking points. Haas played 13 matches in the remainder of 2015, but had toe surgery in April 2016 and missed the entirety of that year - meaning that when Haas played this year at the Australian Open he hadn’t played since October 2015 (he retired after the first two sets).

Haas is 4-8 so far in 2017, a season which is really more in the nature of a farewell tour than anything else – he’s announced his intention to retire at the end of this year, and is already serving as tournament director at Indian Wells – and became the oldest player since Jimmy Connors to win an ATP World Tour match when he beat Reilly Opelka on clay in Houston, also scoring wins over Benoit Paire at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Sergiy Stakhovsky in Munich, Ernesto Escobedo in Rome and now Pierre-Hugues Herbert in Stuttgart. 

Haas kicked off his campaign with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Herbert on the grass of the Mercedes Cup, an impressive win – but don’t read too much into it. Haas is just 3-13 against Federer, although he did score his only win against the Swiss between 2002 and their last meeting at Indian Wells in 2014 on the grass of Halle in 2012, and Federer might be a little bit rusty after his lay-off, but Haas would be a huge underdog in this match even if he was fit enough to be competitive. It should be more in the nature of a gentle welcome back to competition – tinged with nostalgia – for Federer on Wednesday, but there’s nothing sentimental about the mission the Swiss star is on this grass-court season and it starts at the Mercedes Cup.




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Roger Federer v Tommy Haas ATP Stuttgart live stream: Federer starts Wimbledon preparations at the Mercedes Cup Stuttgart

After skipping the clay-court season, Roger Federer returns to action on grass at the Mercedes Cup Stuttgart against fellow golden oldie Tommy Haas.

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