In 2016, Roger Federer decided to skip Roland Garros and end his streak of consecutive Majors played that started in 2000! Focusing on the grass season, Federer didn't travel to Paris in 2017 and 2018, staying away from the clay Major for three years before returning in 2019.
Roger needed no time to regain his Roland Garros vibe, reaching the semi-final in Paris two years ago and losing to Rafael Nadal in straight sets. Federer couldn't play in Paris last year due to a knee injury, undergoing two surgeries in February and May and staying away from the court for almost the entire season.
After 13 months, Roger returned to the court this March in Doha, winning one match and embracing another break ahead of Geneva and Paris. Federer wasted a 4-2 advantage at the home ATP 250 event versus Pablo Andujar before finding the A-game in Paris for two wins and a place in the third round.
Federer ousted Denis Istomin and Marin Cilic to find himself in the last 32 in Paris for the 16th time, writing the record books as the oldest player to achieve that in the Open era at 39 years and nine months! Also, Roger is the ninth-oldest player in the third round at Majors since 1968 after Frank Sedgman, Pancho Segura, Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzales, Mervyn Rose, John McDonald, Mal Anderson and Barry-Phillips Moore.
Roger Federer is the oldest player in the Roland Garros third round in the Open era.
The mentioned players achieve that between 1968-1978, which makes Roger's achievement even more impressive, as he stands as the oldest player in the third round at Majors since Rosewall in 1978!
Becoming the first player with 80 appearances at Majors, Roger kicked off the campaign with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 win over Denis Istomin in an hour and 33 minutes. Playing sharp and aggressive tennis, the Swiss lost 13 points behind the initial shot and kept the pressure on the other side.
Federer pushed Istomin to the limits and converted five out of 13 break opportunities to control the scoreboard and race over the finish line for one of his fastest Roland Garros wins. The veteran fired 48 winners and 20 unforced errors and looked great on the court in only his fourth match of the season.
In the second round, Roger beat Marin Cilic 6-2, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 in two hours and 35 minutes. Roger won back-to-back matches for the first time since the last year's Australian Open, gathering momentum ahead of the next clash.
Federer earned the ninth victory over Cilic from ten encounters and the fifth in a row, all at notable events. The Swiss played better behind the second serve and fired 16 aces, suffering three breaks from eight chances offered to Marin and converting five opportunities on the return that sent him through.
Roger fired 47 winners and 27 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and leaving the opponent behind in the shortest range up to four strokes to forge the victory in that segment and reach the last 32.