By: Aaron Xiong

With today marking the return of the great Roger Federer, many tennis fans across the world were excited to see the Swiss legend return to the courts since his last match in Qatar. The 20 Time Grand Slam champion made his first appearance on a clay court for the first time in 2 years at the Geneva Open.

Entering the Geneva Open as the number 1 seed but with very little clay court match play, Federer looked to start off his 2021 clay season with a win. However, that hope was cut short by Spain’s Pablo Andujar who defeated Federer in three sets. The 35 year old Spaniard quickly raced off to a one set lead over Federer taking the first set 6 games to 4. Despite several unforced errors, Federer quickly bounced back in the second set.

Pablo Andujar at the Geneva Open. Via: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The Swiss Maestro broke Andujar’s serve and steamrolled through the second set to even up the match at one set a piece. In what was a fabulous display of tennis in the second set with Federer flying around the court and striking the ball with such force, he looked to take the momentum in the third and final set.

Despite having the momentum and an early break in the set, Federer fell short in the crucial moments of the match. After holding his serve to go up 4-2 in the deciding set, Federer would lose the next 4 straight games to lose the set and match. The errors were making their presence known as Federer couldn’t find a groove late in the third. Despite saving three match points, Federer soon crumbled under the pressure of the next match point. Roger Federer would lose the match 4-6, 6-4, 4-6.

Roger Federer. Via Getty Images

In a tournament that had the perfect draw for Federer, he was seemingly favored to win the tournament and take the winning momentum to the French Open next week Monday. However, with this loss, many tennis fans and analyst are questioning whether Federer will be able to return and play at 100%. With very little match play under his belt in 2021, Roger Federer is entering the French Open with only 2 wins on the year in the two tournaments he’s played so far. With Grand Slam tournaments being best of 5 sets, many fans are worried and skeptical if Federer can play a best of 5 match at this rate.

Although the odds are stacked against Roger Federer to make a successful comeback, if it’s anyone to make a return to the tour it’s him. Federer has proven to be a relentless force that pushes himself to the absolute limit to achieve greatness and that’s what’s been on display so far this year. The sheer drive and will to return to 100% is what will help Federer make a comeback whether it takes a couple tournaments or another year. Only time will tell whether the tennis legend decides to walk out on court, or finally hang up the racket after an illustrious career.

Federer practicing in Geneva. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/EPA