Usually a highly anticipated sporting event rarely pays off expectations, let alone if we are talking about a second round of an ATP 250: yet once again a nice forty year old from Basel was worth the ticket price, those few that were on sale: after more than 13 months of inactivity, Roger Federer takes home a very complicated match against the world No.28, the British Daniel Evans, not exactly soft as a debut after such a long absence.
It was not possible to find the best Federer of course, the number of sticks rivaled the worst versions of him, sometimes so sensational that Roger himself smiled. Yet in a 2h24 match, we saw again the flashes of that immeasurable talent that he has shown on fields all over the world for more than 20 years.
For Roger now there is Nikoloz Basilashvili (Thursday no earlier than 16:00) who, after a nightmare year, found the right opening on the scoreboard by taking advantage of the forfeit on the eve of the Borna Coric tournament.
Only one precedent between the two: first round Australian Open 2016 in which the Georgian collected 5 games in three sets. But we already have one certainty: the nice grandfather still knows how to play tennis pretty well and we imagined this.
Now we also know that he has a great desire to continue doing it. Roger Federer has two Olympic medals to his name, but is yet to win the coveted gold medal in the singles event.
Roger Federer on the Olympics
Roger Federer then missed the 2016 Rio Olympics due to injury.
That makes the 2021 Tokyo Olympics his last shot at glory, and on Tuesday the Swiss reiterated his desire to be fully fit in time for the showpiece event. "The Olympics is a major goal for me," Federer said. "Unfortunately, I missed the Rio Olympics (in 2016) because of a left knee injury.
I hope I will return to the Tokyo Olympics. I hope that I will be fully in (shape) by then and that questions about my knee will stop." Federer will also have to be wary of the Georgian's powerful drives off both wings.
Basilashvili's fast-paced groundstrokes are likely to be a bigger test for Federer’s defense than Evans’ slices. That said, Federer's serve might be the biggest difference-maker in the match on Thursday.
If the Swiss superstar is hitting his spots with his favorite shot, he will likely be able to register his second win on the trot.