Federer lauds Nadal's French Open run: 'I could not have defeated' him

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have won the first two Grand Slams of 2017. (AP)

Roger Federer lauded Rafael Nadal's French Open victory as he got set for his own return to competition in Stuttgart.

"I could not have defeated Nadal on Sunday, not in this condition," Federer said at his pre-event press conference in Stuttgart. "I already said he would ‘destroy’ the clay season."

Federer has defeated Nadal in their three meetings this season, but decided to skip the clay-court season and has never won against the Spaniard in five matches at the French Open. Nadal dominated the clay events, producing stunning tennis to defeat Stan Wawrinka in straight sets in the final and win his 10th French Open.

"It was his big goal, and it's nice to see that you can achieve your big goal—even though it's not ideal for me that he will come with so much self-confidence to Wimbledon," Federer said with a laugh.

Federer had a small break before playing his two charity exhibitions, and has now been training for a few weeks.

"Honestly, I saw very little tennis during my break,” he said. "Just the scores. Stan I followed a little bit, and of course I felt bad for him during the final."

The 18-time Grand Slam champion described himself as eager to return following his break.

"When you pause, it helps you regenerate physically and to switch off mentally," he said. "Now I'm fresh and injury-free. [During training] I had good sparring partners, no physical problems."

Federer has a first-round bye in Stuttgart.

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