Roger Federer takes an uncertain step in his return
“I started really hitting my shots for a while, but at the same time I thought it was going to be hard to keep that going for two sets,” Federer said. “And it’s due to a lack of confidence. I couldn’t say to myself: ‘Yes, you are going to close this game.’ “
Even for the greatest of all time, confidence is essential and fleeting. Federer looked slightly sorry as he shook hands and exchanged post-match banter with Andújar. He didn’t expect to be in great shape this week, but had hoped to play more than one game on clay at home. Only 100 spectators were allowed on site, but a few more watched in person. Some Swiss supporters had managed to sneak into the woods next to the club.
But it wasn’t a vintage Federer they were staring at through the trees, and despite all of his tennis genius, it’s not sure that a vintage Federer will reappear.
What is clear is that the French Open, which kicks off on red clay in Paris on May 30, is not its main focus. The big goal is Wimbledon, which begins on June 28 at the All England Club, the temple of grass tennis where he won eight titles and where he held two match points in the 2019 final before losing to Novak Djokovic.
“I think Paris is going to be really tough for him,” Annacone said. “But if the body keeps up and maintains good health and gets enough reps, Roger isn’t going to go into the grass season without thinking he can win Wimbledon. He’ll say whatever it takes, but deep down he knows he can win this tournament. But the less dominant you are, the more that aura of invincibility starts to wear off a bit, and it only takes a little to wear off to make a difference. The cloakroom antenna is open. “
It’s not fair to Federer. Tuesday was a tough day on clay for the 39-year-old tennis legends. Serena Williams, back in action this month after not playing since February, struggled in Parma, Italy as Federer struggled in Geneva.
Williams lost, 7-6 (4), 6-2, in the second round to 68th Katerina Siniakova, double faulting at key moments and losing 16 of the last 18 points.