‘Outsider’ Roger Federer: I felt on edge at the start, my heart was beating crazily

Roger Federer serving

He concedes he is “an outsider” in terms of winning the title, but Roger Federer was delighted to return to Roland Garros after a four-year absence.

After suffering a serious knee injury in 2016, the Swiss great opted to take a hiatus from the clay-court season in order to prolong his career.

However, at the start of this year he decided to give the red dirt another go and he opened his2019 French Open campaign with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Lorenzo Sonego on the revamped Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 37-year-old, though, revealed he was slightly nervous at the start.

“I missed it so much so thanks for the welcome,” he said. “I felt on edge at the start, my heart was beating crazily. I felt great playing on this court. It looks great and attractive, so congratulations to everyone involved.

“Hopefully I can play here again for my next match.”

After explaining his reasoning behind his decision to skip the clay-court season, he admitted that he is an outsider to win the title with 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and world No 1 Novak Djokovic ahead of him in the queue.

“The goal was always to play every year and then what happened with the knee and the back in ’16, ’17, ’18 I just felt for my health maybe it was better not to do it,” he said of his decision to cut the event from his schedule.

“And all of a sudden these years go by, and you haven’t played. Now I’m very happy I took that decision.”

He added: “It’s nice to be an outsider. That’s how I feel, anyhow. I know when Wimbledon comes around, I’ll be probably a higher favourite. That’s okay, too.”

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