The last time Roger Federer saw the inside of Court Philippe-Chatrier, he was losing the 2019 semifinal to Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
A lot of water under the bridge since then – including a total revamp of the stadium.
And, in 2021, a guy named Aslan Karatsev has appeared and hit the top 30 with a bullet.
So the elder guy – 40 in a few months, and fully 12 years older than the late-bloomer Karatsev – decided to kill two birds with one stone in his first visit back in two years.
Federer likes to suss out the new talent on the practice court – although they’re usually a lot younger than the 27-year-old Russian.
They smacked the ball for about 15 minutes to start, the pace getting harder and harder with Karatsev trying not to miss, and Federer matching his pace.
(His calves matched up decently, too. Which takes some doing).
And then, “Break!”, said the Fed.
And so they broke, before getting right back to it.
Here’s what it looked like. There was a pretty big crowd on hand, considering the site is still closed during the qualifying.
It is only the second time Federer has been at Roland Garros since … 2015.