“It was good. The first round here in Halle, I always find it is dangerous and it is hard to find any sort of rhythm. Especially against a bigger server who takes big cuts at the ball,” Federer said. “But I thought I did well, stayed calm, focused, and played well in the tie-break and as the match went on, I started to get a better feel for his serve and created more opportunities, and felt I was getting there. I am happy to be back on the grass and the goal is to try and win again here.”
The 10-time Halle Champion has amassed a 69-7 record at the event since making his debut in 2000. This was Federer’s first match on the grass since 2019 and he felt it did not take him long to adjust to the surface again, both physically and mentally.
“I feel my serve is there, I just have to get my footwork right, the right intentions on the court. Knowing when to do what and that aggressive baseline game, making it work automatically,” Federer said.
“I feel it is very much a mindset playing on this surface. Here in Halle, with the courts protected by the roof, it is slippery and plays fast, so it is always a dangerous tournament to play,” Federer added. “I was slipping on the second point so it is different, you can’t move as aggressively as maybe you’d like. It will be interesting to see how the top guys play. I am always excited to see how they handle these early two rounds in Halle.”
Federer reached the fourth round at Roland Garros last week before withdrawing ahead of his match against Italian Matteo Berrettini. It was just his third tournament of 2021 (5-3 match record) having undergone two right knee surgeries last year.
The 39-year-old Swiss superstar believes his wins in Paris have taken some of the pressure off him here in Halle, as he targets a ninth Wimbledon crown.
“For me here this week, I feel I have a little less pressure because I was able to play three matches in Paris, so it is not as if I have to chase matches,” Federer said. “Winning today was nice as it gives me at least two matches here.
“The season starts around now but I have been focused this week, recovering from Paris. My Wimbledon goals are high, they have to be high, or I wouldn’t be playing, and anything I get here in terms of matches is positive for Wimbledon,” Federer added.