Twenty-four years after making his debut at Majors at Roland Garros, Roger Federer is not an active player anymore! The Swiss retired at the last year’s Laver Cup, struggling with a knee injury and failing to compete injury-free.
Federer’s last appearance in Paris came in 2021, entering his 80th Major and stopping the clock at 39 years and nine years! Roger won three matches and became the oldest player in a Major fourth round since Ken Rosewall in 1978, and the oldest at Roland Garros in the Open era!
Focusing on the grass season, Federer did not 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 four years ago and losing to Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
Federer could not play at Roland Garros in 2020 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 in March 2021 in Doha, winning one match and embracing another break ahead of Geneva and Paris.
Federer found his A-game in Paris, earning three wins and a place in the fourth round despite not playing at Majors for 500 days!
Roger Federer is the oldest player in the Roland Garros third round in the Open era.
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! Roger beat Marin Cilic 6-2, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 in two hours and 35 minutes in the second round. Federer won back-to-back matches for the first time since the 2020 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. He suffered three breaks from eight chances offered to Marin and converted 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. Federer faced Dominik Koepfer in the third round and delivered a thrilling 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 victory in three hours and 35 minutes on empty Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Thus, the veteran advanced to the last 16 in Paris for the 15th time, becoming the oldest player in the fourth round at a Major since Ken Rosewall in 1978. It was Roger’s sixth match of the season after that severe knee injury that had kept him away from the court for 13 months, passing a massive test and thinking about the next steps.
Federer won only one point more than Koepfer and secured five breaks to move over the top, including a crucial one at 5-5 in set number four. After the match, Federer said he was ready for a decider, although it’s not normal to stay on the court for over three and a half hours after two knee surgeries.
Thrilled with the result and three victories under his belt in Paris, the 20-time Major champion withdrew ahead of the fourth-round clash with Matteo Berrettini to preserve his knee for his belove grass swing.