Federer says his focus is on Rome

Rome, May 13 (EFE).- Switzerland's Roger Federer, the world No. 3, said he put his early exit in Madrid last week behind him and was "concentrating on Rome, playing better and adjusting to the clay."

Japan's Kei Nishikori beat Federer in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open on Thursday.

The Swiss great, who had not played a tournament since mid-March at Indian Wells on a hard court, was noticeably rusty during the one-hour, 35-minute match and largely beat himself with unforced errors from the baseline.

"I know the reasons why I did not play well, the reasons why I did not win in Madrid and now it is important to focus on Rome," the 31-year-old Federer, who holds a record 17 Grand Slam singles titles, said in a press conference on Sunday.

"When you win a lot of tournaments, no one dares to criticize you, but when you don't win as much, you are more susceptible to it," Federer said in response to a question about some of the negative press he got following his early exit in Madrid.

Federer's first opponent in Rome will be Italy's Potito Starace, who beat the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek on Monday.

The Swiss great has a career record of 6-0 against Starace, who got a wildcard into the tournament.

The Rome Masters is one of the most important clay-court events on the ATP calendar and the last big tune-up for the French Open, which gets underway on May 26.