Roger Federer wet his come back to the grass-courts with a success, beating qualifier Ilya Ivashka in two struggling sets in Halle. In the second round, the Swiss Maestro was eliminated by Felix Auger Aliassime, who also recovered a set of disadvantage.
The Swiss champion, who had retired from the Roland Garros 2021 before taking the court in the 4th 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 slams last Sunday by winning 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: "The Grand Slams mattered less when I entered the Tour"
Federer said: "It seems that nowadays everything revolves around the Grand Slam number and this is not ideal for me. When I joined the circuit, the focus wasn't just on the Majors.
It was Pete Sampras who triggered this mechanism and suddenly everyone focused exclusively on those four tournaments. In the future there will be other players who will win many Grand Slams, maybe even more than us. The Grand Slams are certainly an important stage for tennis in general, but after winning my 15th title I have given them much less importance.
I just wanted to beat Sampras' record, everything else was a bonus. As long as the three of us are on the pitch, anything can really happen." Federer also added: "We are all in the same boat. Not even the other players have experienced grass tennis in the last two years.vMy goals for Wimbledon are clearly very ambitious.
If I don't do well in Halle, I would still have another week of training. As for the match, I had a hard time in the first set when I faced two break points, but I was good at getting out and then I played a great tiebreak.
I think I've started creating more opportunities and my nerves have calmed down. Overall I served really well. I love playing here. The fact that there is no audience is a disappointment for everyone, but at the same time I am thrilled to be playing on my favorite surface again."