Best of Federer from French Open 2021

Roger Federer has pulled out of the 2021 French Open a day after beating Germany's Dominik Koepfer keeping fitness concerns in mind.

Here are some of Roger Federer's standout moments at the Roland Garros this season.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Roger Federer pulled out of what was possibly his last French Open on Sunday as a precautionary measure to rest up before Wimbledon, unwilling to risk his troublesome knee after an injury-plagued past 18 months.

 

Here are some of the standout moments of the Swiss at the Roland Garros this season:

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Ending a 487-day Slam appearance drought

After enduring two knee surgeries for the first time in his illustrious career and being out of action for over a year, Roger Federer eventually marked his return to Grand Slam action on May 31.

In his first round fixture, Federer put doubters to rest with a casual stroll (6-2, 6-4, 6-3) over Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin after suffering a shock exit in the Geneva Open, a couple of weeks earlier.

The 'Not So Cool' Roger?

Federer is still acclimatising to tennis in the pandemic-stricken world (just the six matches in the COVID-era) and was soon to learn a lesson the hard way.

In his second round fixture against Croatia's Marin Cilic, Federer's continuous long walks to either side to grab his towel between Cilic's 'forever' serve, prompted the chair umpire to hand the Swiss legend a time violation.

 

A good five minutes then ensued with Federer standing defiant at the net and proceeding his case to the chair umpire in an argument that rolled on in English and French! "I listened to you. But now you listen to me, okay?" a fuming Federer said. After the umpire's short bits, he added: "What's now? I'm ready to return. Let's play"

Federer, however, added a tinge of class later on at the start of the third set tie-break. Despite the game hanging in the balance, Federer went onto overrule the chair umpire's call to hand a point to his opponent

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Federer fends off the Big Croat

In Croatia's Marin Cilic, Federer had a hefty challenge early on in his return to the Tour, in the second round in Paris.

Federer got the match off to a flier, breezing through the first set (6-2) before Cilic returned a blow in equal measure in the second (2-6). Federer seemed down and out, however, once again found another gear to brush aside the Croatian in a thrilling four-setter, bringing up his 10th win over the Croat in 11 appearances in trademark fashion.

 

'I will not win the French Open'

"I'm just realistic that I know I will not win the French and whoever thought I would or could win it is wrong," Federer said ahead on his road to Paris after an early exit at the Geneva Open.

With age comes wisdom, and Roger's heightened self-awareness was perhaps not what his fans wanted to hear on his highly-anticipated return from injury.

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Fiesty Koepfer reignites Federer's best

In a dicey third-round contest, Federer came up against Germany's Dominik Koepfer - his 347th career opponent. Despite the 20-time Grand Slam champion's imperious record against left-handers,  the young German put up a fight of equals, matching Federer's movements across the court if not better.

With three back-to-back tie-breakers testing the Swiss' resolve, Federer once again found his inimitable best in the crunch moments and saw off a determined Koepfer while enduring a stiff test on his body.

While Roger seemed to have "surprised himself" after prevailing through,  his young challenger went onto say: "Federer is 39 years old and still crazy fit. I have no regrets, I gave everything I had."

 

A classic drop shot and supreme net play - Federer turns back the clock

Despite a week's stay in Paris, Federer showed glimpses of very best on-court with a fine array of forehand winners and age-defying runs across the court. However, two classic Federer moments was at the top of it all.

Steam-rolling through his start against Cilic in the second round, Federer brought out the perfect drop shot from the baseline to stun one and all the Philippe Chatrier before closing the first set in style.

In his match on Saturday against Koepfer, Federer went onto produce another masterclass at the net as he found enough space from across the net to pull the ball back into play with a stunning stretch and left his young opponent gasping for breath.

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