Roger Federer wet his return to grass with a success, beating qualifier Ilya Ivashka in two hard sets at Halle Central on Monday. The Swiss phenomenon, who had retired from Roland Garros before taking the field in the second round, offered a very erratic performance, often clinging to the serve and relying on his experience in the decisive moments.
For the former world number 1, the highlight of his season is getting closer and closer, namely Wimbledon, which will start in less than two weeks at Church Road. The 39-year-old from Basel's dream is to put another Major on the board, as well as avenge the atrocious insult he suffered in the 2019 final.
Meanwhile, his great rival Novak Djokovic hoisted himself to 19 Grand Slams last Sunday by winning the Roland Garros. Numerous insiders believe the Serbian is set to break the record currently shared by Federer and Nadal. When asked about his point of view on the subject, King Roger explained that he is not obsessed with such rankings.
Roger Federer is the king of grass
"It seems it's all about Grand Slam titles nowadays and I don't like that," Roger Federer said. "When I came on the tour, it wasn't just about the Slams. It was Pete Sampras who triggered this and suddenly said that now only the Slams would be of interest to him.
In the future, more players will win Grand Slam tournaments anyway," he added. "The Slams have certainly given me a lot, and they offer tennis a big stage but after my 15th I didn't really care whether I had 15, 16, 17 or 18.
I just wanted to break Sampras' record, everything else was a bonus. As long as we (three) play everything is possible, at the end, the accounting will be done." The 39-year-old heaped praise on the level displayed by Djokovic and Nadal in their semi-final clash, which has been described by many as one of the greatest matches of all time.
"I saw some of it (Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas), I didn't watch the whole match but you know I also saw the same amount of the semis against Rafa, which was great tennis you know, unbelievable rallies from the baseline," Federer said.
Roger Federer is the king of grass and has won the most number of titles on grass. Wimbledon Championships is the only grass-court Grand Slam and hence Federer reigns supreme there with a mammoth eight titles, including five titles in a row between 2003 and 2007.
But it was his last title in 2017 that is the definition of domination as he won that without dropping a set.