The King is Back: Roger Federer Wins His First Match After Not Playing In Over a Year

Mohamed Farag. Getty Images.

Federer def. Evans 7-6 (10-8) 3-6 7-5


It was not easy, it certainly wasn't the prettiest, but goddamn Roger Federer is back and he's winning again. 

You may look at the opponent and the difficulty in winning this match and assume Fed is not himself. You would be mistaken. Dan Evans is a very solid player ranked inside the top 30 who plays a very nice brand of tennis, protected by a well placed serve. You probably couldn't have asked for a better test than Evans this early in the tournament. Evans had been practicing with Federer for a few weeks now so you have to imagine he had a good read on the Swiss Maestro coming into this match. 

The first set was as tight as can be with both players serving very well. I think Fed dropped one point on his serve for the first 4 games. He had to fight off one break point a little later in the set, but kept his cool and held. The set eventually went to a tiebreak that went back and forth with mini breaks. Finally at 9-8, Roger ripped a cross-court backhand for a set winner. Absolute thing of beauty from the king himself. 

The 2nd set went a little awry. Evans broke early and continued to hold despite some pressure from Federer. The closing moneyline line of this match only had Federer as a -185 favorite so you knew Evans was not going to go away quietly. He took the 2nd set 6-3 and forced a deciding third set. 

Going into the final frame I didn't have the highest of expectations. Fed hadn't played competitive tennis in over a year. His timing wasn't all there. His net play was shaky. He was indecisive in spots he normally isn't. He had this shank on a low volley that well…looked like this. 

He was able to laugh off some of these misses which was good to see. He's just ecstatic to be back out there with minimal pain in that knee. Win or lose in the 3rd this was going to be viewed as a big step in the right direction. Well, Roger decided to play some incredible tennis in the 3rd set to bring this one home. He faced several break points and fought them off. This drop shot to save one was incredible. 


Eventually at 6-5 and double match point, Roger ripped a backhand down the line to seal the deal. DEEP BREATH.

That was as good of a test as you could have asked for. He physically looked very good from my eyes. The dominant serve was there, the wizard shots made some appearances, and as an icing on the cake he won two of three sets to move on in the tourney. Obviously gotta see how he feels tomorrow and responds, but I'm very very very happy with today's result. Was a gift just to see this man on the tennis court again, never mind playing well. 

Onto tomorrow against Nikoloz Basilashvili. Another tricky opponent, but one I suspect a healthy Federer gets by. Go Roger Go. 

P.S. These are Roger's new shoes. No longer tied to Nike, he's rocking a prototype from the company On. I expect these to sell like wild fire when they're released on the open market.