Roger Federer Returns to Grand Slam Tennis After 487 Days

Roger Federer of Switzerland in action Australian Open in January 2020
Roger Federer of Switzerland in action Australian Open in January 2020. Photo by Ella Ling/BPI/Shutterstock (10540292bo)

Roger Federer made a successful return to Grand Slam action on Monday, defeating Denis Istomin in the first round of the 2021 French Open. This marked Federer’s first major tournament appearance after 487 days of hiatus.

Despite the long break, caused by two knee surgeries, Federer demonstrated impressive dominance on the court. He needed only three sets to deal with Istomin (6-2, 6-4, 6-3) while not allowing any breaks and producing 48 winners compared to 20 unforced errors.

Federer, who has one Roland Garros win on his resume, will face Marin Cilic in the second round of the tournament.

The last time Roger Federer played a Grand Slam match was the 2020 Australian Open, where he was eliminated in the semi-finals. Shortly after, Federer underwent a right knee surgery to deal with an issue that was bothering him for quite some time. Following a setback in recovery, he was forced to have another procedure on the same knee and didn’t return to competitive tennis until March 2021.

The 2021 French Open already saw some major names being eliminated from the tournament, including the reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem. He was defeated by unseeded Spaniard Pablo Andujar despite holding a 2-0 lead after two sets.

There was a surprising exit in women’s singles as well, with 2021 Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka deciding to withdraw from competitions. Osaka made the decision after being threatened with sanctions for her refusal to attend press conferences.