Geneva Open 2021: The 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is eying a comeback on clay court having given it a pass in the past. While the COVID-19 pandemic had cut short the ATP calendar in 2020, Roger Federer did play on hard court events. However, with French Open coming up, the Swiss legend is now making a comeback on a clay court with Geneva Open (ATP 250) with a potential semifinal clash against Marin Cilic. Interestingly, it will be the first time that Federer will play in the tournament and his first competition since March 2021.
“I was happy that the knee didn’t feel any different from hard to clay, so I expect the same to go from clay to grass,” Federer told reporters on Monday as quoted by Reuters.
“Since ’98, since we have the grass in my schedule, I’ve never really had any major issues going between surfaces. I think that the tennis player is used to these switches but of course with an injury, there is always a little bit more concern, especially when you haven’t played as long as I have,” he added.
Federer further stated that since the French open was pushed back by a week, it has affected his schedule drastically but he is happy with his Wimbledon preparation.
“I’m convinced that hitting a lot of balls – you have to really power through the ball like you have to on clay because otherwise, you’re not going to have an impact on this surface – is going to be beneficial for me for the grasscourt season,” he signed off.
As for draws, there will be no Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic to challenge Roger Federer but players such as Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov and Fabio Fognini will be tough contenders. Federer has received a first-round bye and will face either Jordan Thompson or Pablo Andujar in the quarterfinals.
Geneva Open: However, it won’t be an easy route for Roger Federer. He has received a tough Geneva Open draw with the potential of a semifinal clash against big-server Marin Cilic, who has had a good record in clay-court events. Cilic will face Swiss Dominic Stricker in the Round-of-16.
In a tough bracket, Roger Federer has been drawn alongside Santiago champion Cristian Garin and former World No. 3 Marin Cilic. Fifth seed Cristian Garin is also in the same bracket. He will begin his title bid against Marton Fucsovics. Amongst the contenders, Cristian Garin has been one of the most consistent players on clay. The Chilean has won five ATP Tour titles on the surface since 2019.
Federer Clay Court record:
Geneva Open: While 39-year-old Roger Federer has had a superior head-to-head record against Marin Cilic, he is not at the same level as he used to be. The only time both faced each other on clay was back in 2011 in the Monte Carlo Masters that Federer won in straight sets. The last time, Federer faced Cilic was in the 2018 Australian Open final when the Swiss legend edged past Cilic in a marathon five-set battle.
However, as Roger Federer will be making only his second appearance of 2021 after the Qatar Open in March, it will be a difficult affair for the tennis great. In Qatar, he lost to eventual champion Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals. But if Federer manages to have a fine run, he will join Claudio Mezzadri (1987), Marc Rosset (1989) and Stan Wawrinka (2016-17) as the fourth Swiss player to lift the Geneva Open title.
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