Roger Federer takes his comeback to the friendly grass courts at Halle on Monday. The 10-time tournament champion opens play against Belarussian qualifier Ilya Ivashka.
Federer, who is playing just his fourth event during this comeback, is seeded just fifth. Ahead of him are a host of top players including top seed Daniil Medvedev, French finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 3 seed and 2-time finalist Alexander Zverev and then fourth-seeded Andrey Rublev.
Federer could meet Stuttgart finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round, Medvedev in the quarters and Zverev in the semifinals.
“Clearly it’s go time, and hopefully this is where the season starts for me,” said Federer. “Practicing on grass is always fun, super-natural. I’m still taking things easy. The knee always needs extra care, and I will try to push more in practice this afternoon or tomorrow. I hope it will react well to the grass, and I don’t have any negative reactions. I am confident I will be fine in the coming days.
“But the body has to get ready for the grass-court season. Usually I get a stiff back or feel my glutes, my hamstrings or groin get challenged a little bit at the start, like they do at the beginning of the clay-court season. It normally takes me one day to feel comfortable on the grass, maybe not even that.”
Zverev begins his grass season against countryman Dominik Koepfer. Medvedev meets Jan-Lennard Struff.
Tsitsipas takes on former Texas A&M standout Arthur Rinderknech and Rublev collides with Karen Khachanov.
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