Roger Federer French Open 2021

Roger Federer ‘very happy and excited’ after grass court return

Roger Federer admitted he had to calm his nerves to beat Ilya Ivashka in the first round of the ATP 500 event in Halle.

The 20-time major winner defeated the Belarusian qualifier 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 in his first grass court match since Wimbledon in 2019.

“[I] had a tough moment early on in the first set when he had break points, so that was crucial to get out of those,” Federer said in his on-court interview.

“And then I played a really good tiebreak, which I was happy about. I think as the match went on I started to create more opportunities and started to also calm my nerves a bit.

“Overall, I think I served very well. Clearly, I can always be a little bit better, but I’m very happy and excited that I was able to get through the first one.

“I missed it. I hadn’t played a tournament in two years on this surface. I’ve done the hard courts, I’ve done the clay and now [I am] on the grass.

“It’s been great being back here in Halle. I love playing here. I’m excited to be back on the green grass. And getting a win is obviously always very nice.”

The 39-year-old Swiss will face either Felix Auger-Aliassime or Hubert Hurkacz in the second round.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.