After withdrawing from last week's Madrid Open with lower-back pain, Federer was just glad that he was able to play two matches on the clay in Rome.
"It doesn't matter how I played. [What is] important is that I didn't have any setbacks and I was able to step on the tennis court and that I tried what I could with what I had," said Federer, who defeated German teenager Alexander Zverev in straight sets Wednesday. "I knew I wasn't good enough for any result here, so that's why I hope you don't read into it so much, and I don't.
"This is like, 'Who cares about the results here?' It matters what comes now in the next couple of months."
With only 10 days before the French Open begins, however, Federer needs to figure out how to manage the pain.
"Now obviously time starts ticking more toward Paris," said Federer, who also missed 10 weeks earlier this year after surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. "Clearly the way I'm playing right now is never going to be enough for any good run in Paris, and then I also wouldn't play this way. I'm still confident I will be fine somehow."
Following Federer's loss, Andy Murray will return to No. 2 in the world next week. Federer overtook the No. 2 spot Monday after Murray failed to defend his Madrid Open title, losing to Novak Djokovic in the final.
With neither man playing another event before the French Open, Murray is guaranteed to be seeded No. 2 at Roland Garros.