The 20-time Major champion Roger Federer had to miss the entire 2020 season after the Australian Open, dealing with a severe knee injury and undergoing two surgeries in February and May. After 13 long months, the Swiss hit the court again this March in Doha, beating Daniel Evans in three tight sets before wasting a match point against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarters.
Taking more time off the court, Federer signed to play at home in Geneva in May and suffered a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 loss to Pablo Andujar despite a solid effort and a lead in the decider. 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 forge the advantage.
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.
Roger Federer made changes ahead of Roland Garros in comparison to Geneva.
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 and extend his chances.
Losing ground in those moments, Roger suffered another break at 4-5, saving the first two break chances 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.
Playing aggressive tennis on both serve and return, Roger dominated the shortest exchanges and kept the initial shot safe. The Swiss dropped only 13 points and delivered five breaks to move over the top in style and score the first Major victory since the last year's Australian Open quarter-final.
After the match, Federer said he had to fix Geneva mistakes and play closer to the baseline and control the rallies. "I promised myself that I would not 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.