This content was published 10 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
Andy Murray may have claimed on Sunday that Rafael Nadal was “ahead of the pack” but Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer did not seem to agree with that statement judging by their outstanding displays as they graced Foro Italico for the first time in 2013. Djokovic was close to his best with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 success over Albert Montanes, forcing the Spaniard to the back of the court, but even he was not satisfied afterwards. “It was good for the start but I can do better and my game has to improve to win the next challenge,” he said. “But I’m in a good way and I did not have a great week in Madrid and I came here early and worked hard on the court. After the tournament in Rome with two Grand Slams in less than a month and it’s a very important period of the season and I need to be mentally and physically fit.” Federer’s performance against Italian Potito Starace to win 6-1, 6-2 in just 51 minutes was perhaps even more impressive. His all-round court play ensured one of his most comfortable wins of the year to date. “I played well and things went well and I am happy that tonight is a good night,” he said. “There is always pressure in the first match especially in Italy against an Italian and so I am very happy. “I am happy and on the practice court I am finding my rhythm and so I think that if there was a big tournament or a Grand Slam or a semi or final then I feel I would be ready and I am there where I want to be and so it would be good to gain confidence and win on clay and I am happy how I am feeling now. “I think I was able to play the whole arsenal – the whole thing so it was a good win for me tonight especially against Potito who has already played on clay and I have not.” When asked about Murray’s comments, a gracious Nadal, who starts his tournament against Fabio Fognini, refused to agree. “No. I never had that feeling and so this is why I had this success,” he said. “I respect every player and I don’t feel better and I think I can lose or win and I think every match is important. This is why I have been able to play well in my career and everything can happen and from the first ball to the final against a top player.”