‘Roland Garros is not the goal. The goal is the grass so I still have time,’ says Roger Federer after Geneva exit
Roger Federer suffered defeat against Spain’s Pablo Andujar on his return to the ATP Tour on home soil at the Geneva Open.
The 39-year-old was out for more than 12 months after undergoing two knee operations last year. He returned at the ATP event in Doha in March but then headed back to the practice court for another two months.
Clay has always been Federer’s weakest surface, and his main target is to be in good shape for Wimbledon at the end of June.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) May 18, 2021
He certainly looked rusty against another veteran and seasoned clay-court campaigner.
Spaniard Andujar took the first set but Federer looked like he had turned things around when he levelled the match and went a break up in the decider.
But the errors returned and Federer was broken twice in succession to go down 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in what will be his only match building up to the French Open.
Pablo spoils the Swiss party 😯
Pablo Andujar wins the last four games to defeat Federer 6-4 4-6 6-4 in his first match back on clay since 2019 in Geneva pic.twitter.com/NqIUmzqBtu
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 18, 2021
Federer was philosophical afterwards, saying: “Roland Garros is not the goal. The goal is the grass so I still have time. I’m disappointed for the tournament more than anything. I wish I could have stayed around and played some more matches for the people here.
“Of course at 4-2 in the third you feel like, ‘Oh that’s nice I was able to turn around the match’, and then it just dips and everything’s over 10 minutes later. But we know how tennis goes and that’s where it’s so brutal sometimes.
“I feel like I didn’t deserve it, there was just not enough happening in my game. I was a bit limited today on the court. You just have to accept it and move on.
“It’s good to be back on the court but then you lose a match like this and you’re down. It never feels great. I expect better from myself. I feel like in practice I’ve been playing better. Matches are a different animal so I’ve got my work cut out there.”
The next generation of Swiss tennis appears in good hands, though, with Roland Garros junior champion Dominic Stricker marking his ATP Tour debut by beating former US Open winner Marin Cilic 7-6 (5) 6-1.
Strick rolled 😎
A first ATP win at the first attempt for Dominic Stricker, who beats Cilic 7-6 6-1 in Geneva! 🇨🇭 pic.twitter.com/a2zVJG4Ycv
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 18, 2021
Federer was among those watching from the stands, and the 18-year-old said: “It was a great match. I played good from the start. I tried my best. I served pretty well for the whole match. It helped me a lot. I’m just very happy.”
Stricker will next face Marton Fucsovics, who beat another Swiss in Henri Laaksonen 7-5, 7-5.
Sixth seed Fabio Fognini eased to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Guido Pella while Rome semi-finalist Reilly Opelka suffered an early defeat, losing 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to Pablo Cuevas.
At the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, Gael Monfils claimed his first ATP Tour victory since February 2020 with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Thiago Seyboth Wild, ending an eight-match losing streak.
Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti secured another impressive win, seeing off seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (7-3) 3-6, 7-5, while American Tommy Paul defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-3.
Johanna Konta makes progress while Dan Evans fails as grass court season gathers pace
Johanna Konta’s fine form continues at Viking Open.
‘A night you will remember forever’ – Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal react to their French Open epic
Nadal went into the contest having won 105 of his previous 107 matches on the Parisian clay, but he was beaten by his great rival.
French Open day 13: A four-hour and 11-minute Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal epic, HawkEye debate rages on
The story of the 13th day of action at Roland Garros.
Novak Djokovic dethrones Rafael Nadal to reach French Open final
Rafael Nadal suffered just his third loss at the French Open.
Phenomenal Novak Djokovic pulls off sensational win to end Rafael Nadal’s French Open reign
Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal’s reign as champion.
‘It was nerve-racking, it was so intense’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas after battling past Alexander Zverev
Stefanos Tsitsipas prevailed in five sets against Alexander Zverev.
‘I’m just going to have fun,’ says Barbora Krejcikova as she looks to win a French Open double
Krejcikova will feature in singles and doubles finals.
‘There is a real buzz of anticipation,’ says Tim Henman ahead of Wimbledon return
The 2020 Championships were cancelled due to Covid-19.
Johanna Konta edges closer to ending her title drought after reaching Viking Open semi-finals
Johanna Konta eyes first WTA Tour title since 2017.
Roger Federer ‘pretty positive about his chances’ as he looks to step up a gear on grass
“I’ve only seen improvement, no setbacks,” says Roger Federer.