Roger Federer will start his career at Roland Garros on Monday at the Central, against Denis Istomin. A return to Parisian clay that thrills the public. But who also raises questions.
He is back two years later. Roger Federer will once again set foot on the clay at Roland Garros this Monday, against Denis Istomin on the Central. But at almost 40, his appearances are rare on the circuit. Especially since the start of the pandemic and two right knee operations that forced him to move away from the pitch for much of 2020. He replayed for the first time on clay in Geneva, with a defeat at stake. Ocher is a demanding surface … with what ambitions and means does the Swiss come to Paris?
Long period of work in the shadows
Very discreet since his arrival at Roland Garros, he did not come to a press conference before the start of the tournament, contrary to his habit. No superfluous appearance either. The co-record holder of Grand Slam victories (20 titles) worked out of sight. It was observed in particular during a two-hour session Thursday with Aslan Karatsev at the end of the day scrutinized by the young ball collectors of the tournament.
It is therefore difficult to know where Roger Federer is really at, except for Gaël Monfils who trained with him in Switzerland for a weekend: “What I saw in one weekend was already extraordinary. The difference of his movement, his quality of strike, the rhythm, had evolved enormously. It will be difficult to get for a lot of people here. ” David Goffin also had the pleasure of sharing a training session with the Swiss at Roland Garros more recently: “We trained for two short hours with good intensity. It was a very good training. I was happy. to see that he was pretty fit and sharp, 100%. “
With Wimbledon and the Olympics in the lead
Earlier in the year, Federer had announced it. His priority goals for the season were clear: Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. It is among other things in view of these two tournaments that the Swiss are participating in Roland-Garros. To do “physical cash” and play in a competitive situation, before the grass season. This has often benefited him in his career.
But can he still win a Grand Slam? This is the big question, and the sequence of matches in the best of three sets will perhaps give an answer for Nicolas Escudé, national technical director: “He is there and it is always a pleasure to see him. It will be necessarily complicated for him this year. After that he did not have such a bad draw when we see the first laps he will have to face, it can be a start-up. And especially to see how he will be able to recover because it is is especially there that the question arises to know the sequence of the matches. “
For David Goffin, the Swiss see further than Porte d’Auteuil: “He comes here to gain confidence and I’m sure he has Wimbledon in mind. I hope he can win seven more matches to be able to win a Grand Slam, ”says the Belgian. Everyone is impatiently waiting for him on the Philippe-Chatrier court to close the day session on Monday against Dens Istomin. To finally find out.