Roger Federer said "time was ticking" in his battle to recover form and fitness for the French Open, after losing to rising Austrian star Dominic Thiem 7-6 (7/2) 6-4 in the third round of the Italian Open yesterday.
The former world No. 1 still looks way short of his best after knee and back injuries and struggled to get to grips with the 22-year-old Thiem at the Foro Italico, a week after withdrawing from the Madrid Open.
Thiem, ranked 15th, claimed the 32nd victory of a breakthrough season that saw him rise to a career-high 13th.
Seventeen-time Major champion Federer, who has missed 10 weeks of the season through knee surgery, shrugged off the defeat, saying his immediate priority was the French Open that begins on May 22.
"This is like, 'Who cares about the results here?'" the 34-year-old said.