Roger Federer made a winning return to the Centre Court at the Wimbledon 2021. Playing against Adrian Mannarino, Federer saw his match cut short as Mannarino was forced off due to a knee injury he suffered at the end of the 4th set.
After having dropped the 1st set, Adrian came back strongly and won the 2nd and 3rd set to push the Swiss Maestro back on the ropes. However, Federer came back stronger and clinched the 4th set 6-2 after which Mannarino had to retire. The score at the time of his withdrawal was 6-4, 6-7(7), 3-6, 6-2 for Federer.
Federer overcomes his first round blues
“I think it’s more about first round tennis, especially here at Wimbledon. If you see what happened to him and how difficult and complicated it can be to move sometimes and players go down, so I’m happy that it didn’t happen to me, I had one small tiny slip I was doing serve and volley.
“So that’s the focus and not wanting to lose in the first round, so you want to fight against all that stuff and I played against a good opponent today so I knew the danger was always gonna be there and if I don’t get on a roll early even though it might have looked like I did but as the match went on I think he got into the match better.” said Federer about his 1st round match.
Answering a question whether he’s playing for pleasure or pressure since these are some of his last Grand Slams, “I don’t feel like a particular way because you might think it’s one of the last Slams nobody knows, I don’t know, so from that stand point, I take it as a regular first round which has pressure always in my opinion.” replied Federer.
Roger Federer talks about the much speculated slippery Grass of the Centre Court
Federer did not play for nearly 15 months due to his knee injury after the 2020 Australian Open and with the Pandemic affecting the entire sport when Federer was in rehab after his knee surgeries, Adrian’s injury brought back some sad memories for Roger.
“It was just a terrible ending that I don’t like to see, I don’t know I just felt really down especially with everything that went down with my knee and then that was his knee and I hope he’s not out for a long time, it was just a bad ending but okay that’s how it goes sometimes and I hope he’s not out for long as I said.” said Federer, wishing speedy recovery for Mannarino.
Talking about the increased slips on Grass as it was seen during all the matches held on Centre Court so far, Federer said, “As I was walking out, the referee asked me how I was feeling about the court and I said the court plays normally as we know it. I do feel that it was tad more slippery maybe under the roof, I don’t know if it’s just a gut feeling.
“You do have to more very carefully out there and if you push too hard in the wrong moments, you go down. I do feel it’s drier during the day than it’s got to be you know with the wind and all that stuff, it takes the moist out of the grass, but this is obviously terrible. I don’t think it plays very different but again, I’m also moving carefully and this is what I told the team as well.
“They thought I moved very well and you know under the circumstances those first two matches are always extremely difficult but it’s always been like this and I feel for a lot of players, it’s super key to get through those first two rounds because the grass is more slippery.
“It is more soft and as the tournament progresses, it gets harder and easier to move on but this is obviously terrible that it’s back-to-back matches and it’s Serena as well, oh my god I can’t believe it.” added Federer after finding about Serena William‘s forced retirement due to slipping on the Centre Court.
Roger will be next playing Richard Gasquet in the 2nd round of the Wimbledon 2021.