The third-ranked Federer is set to return at the Madrid Open, a tournament he won in 2006 and 2009.
Federer said Sunday he's ''excited to be back'' after a long offseason, but it was a break he needed ''after playing so, so much.'' He adds that he's now in a ''good position'' to regain the top ranking if he wins a major championship.
The 30-year-old Swiss calls Rafael Nadal the tournament favorite. He's also withholding judgment on the event's new blue clay surface. Federer says it ''feels different,'' but he wants to play a match on center court before giving his opinion.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter: @AO Sports)