The 20-time Major champion Roger Federer hadn’t competed for 13 months after the last year’s Australian Open, dealing with a knee injury and undergoing two surgeries. Roger returned in Doha in March and took more time off before embracing a clay swing in Geneva and Paris. Playing at home in Geneva, Federer lost in the first match to an experienced clay-courter Pablo Andujar 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, playing well after the opener but failing to bring the victory home. Federer got broken at 4-5 in the opening set and raised his level in the second, losing five points behind the initial shot and seizing a break at 1-1 to move in front.
Serving well in the rest of the set, Federer closed it in game ten and gathered momentum ahead of the decider, where he raced into a 4-2 advantage. In only his second loose service game of the match, Federer got broken at 4-3 when Andujar placed a forehand winner to bring more drama. Losing ground in those moments, Roger suffered another break at 4-5, saving the first two with winners before falling on the third to finish on the losing side. Eager to improve his game, Federer played on a much higher level in the Roland Garros first match, storming over Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes.
Roger Federer made changes ahead of Roland Garros in comparison to Geneva.
Playing aggressive tennis on both serve and return, Roger dominated the shortest exchanges and kept the initial shot safe, dropping only 13 points and delivering five breaks to move over the top in style and score the first Major victory since the last year’s Australian Open. In the second round, Federer will face his old rival Marin Cilic, against whom he played two Major finals in 2017 and 2018.
“I promised myself that I wouldn’t be as far behind the baseline on the return as I did in Geneva. It was a complete joke. I was not feeling well there and wanted to try it with the sledgehammer. I have more clarity in my head now,” Roger Federer said.