The 20-time Major champion Roger Federer made a winning return to grass on Monday, beating Ilya Ivashka 7-6, 7-5 in the first round in Halle. It was the first grass-court match for Roger since the Wimbledon final two years ago, playing on a high level at his beloved event at 37 and beating Rafael Nadal in the semis.
Setting the clash against Novak Djokovic in the final, Federer wasted two match points in one of the most thrilling title encounters at the All England Club, finishing runner-up and hoping for another strong run in a couple of weeks.
Following the last year's Australian Open, the Swiss had to skip 13 months due to an injury and underwent two surgeries to put his career in danger. Eager to get back, Federer started to train last October and hit the court again this March in Doha, winning one match before wasting a match point against Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Greg Rusedski backs Roger Federer to seek deep Wimbledon run.
After taking more time off the court, Federer embraced the clay swing in Geneva and Paris, winning three encounters at Roland Garros before withdrawing ahead of the fourth-round clash with Berrettini to rest his knee.
Not risking anything, Roger was eager to make a fresh start on grass and give his best in Halle and Wimbledon, feeling he has a chance of fighting for another Major title on the court where he had already lifted eight trophies.
Greg Rusedski believes that Roger should be a contender at Wimbledon, but only if he brings his best movement to London. "From what we saw of him in the first three rounds in Paris, he could be a danger at Wimbledon. He surprised himself by winning three matches in Paris, but his focus all year has been Wimbledon and the Olympics.
He doesn't have that gold medal in singles, and the last time he played at Wimbledon, he had a couple of match points against Novak Djokovic in the final and lost. That was a massive moment in his career, and Roger will not want that to be his last match at Wimbledon.
This is the most stylish player to ever play our sport, beautiful to watch, but his chances at Wimbledon come down to how well he can move. If Roger moves well, he has a chance to get into the latter stages of the tournament.
Still, if he is a step slower, this sport can be ruthless, and I know that from personal experience," Greg Rusedski said.