Roger Federer said he returned to the ATP Tour soon after his sons' birth so he could stay in routine ahead of the French Open. (Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images)
ROME -- Roger Federer got the green light from his wife Mirka to participate in this week's Italian Open, and he'll look to maintain the positive momentum heading into the French Open. Federer's participation was in doubt after withdrawing from the Madrid Open so he would be present for the birth of his twin sons, Leo and Lenny.
"Everything happened all of a sudden on Tuesday evening," Federer told reporters. "So that was a bit of a surprise. I thought it was going to be a few days or maybe even a week down the road. So when they came on Tuesday that gave Rome a bigger chance for me to come and play here.
"I spoke to the team and I spoke to Mirka asked them for their advice on what I should do, and they all said I should quickly come to play here. So I was like, 'Ok, if you don't want me around I'll go away.'"
Federer said he was better prepared for the birth of twins this time around -- Mirka gave birth to twin girls Charlene Riva and Myla Rose in 2009 -- but when it came to names he was stumped.
"Boys' names [are] hard. Girls, I feel like there are so many nice, beautiful girls names. They're all cute. With boys, it's a different story."
Federer has not played since losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in the Monte Carlo Masters final, but he was able to maintain a rigorous training schedule in Switzerland right up until the birth. He arrived in Rome on Monday. His goal this week is simply to maintain the rhythm of his schedule and not let any rust build from staying off the tour.
"I expect a lot from myself, but then again after what happened I come here a bit more laid back," he said. "Less pressure, enjoy it and just stay in tournament rhythm because I had such a good start to the season that I want to keep momentum on my side. That's basically why I'm here... It doesn't matter if I play five matches here or one match here as long as I keep the pulse of what's going on here on tour. Of course I want to win my first round match but I probably have different priorities. "
Federer plans to take his entire family on tour with him and that could happen sooner than later, telling reporters the family will reunite "very shortly."
"I miss them a lot already," he said. "And also the girls too. It's a different kind of week, but I'll get through it. I hope to play some good tennis here this week. We'll see how it goes."