There was still plenty of rust on show for Roger Federer in his competitive return to action on Monday at the Australian Open. He played his first tour match since Wimbledon, winning in four against an experienced opponent in Jurgen Melzer. The Austrian was the lowest ranked player in 10 years to win a set off Federer although it seems fair to say that given he is in the midst of a comeback from a lengthy injury layoff himself, his ranking isn’t all that representative of his true ability.
His second round opponent will be Noah Rubin after the Ame rican defeated his fellow countryman Bjorn Fratangelo in round one. Rubin seems the type of player that Federer will enjoy playing as he noted, saying “I know he’s a baseliner. He makes a lot of shots. I guess it’s not a bad thing for me. I know it’s probably more on my racquet rather than playing a big server.” he further added “I’m happy I was made to work today. Actually at the end I’m quite happy how I ended, which is most important.”
Having not played since Wimbledon there was a lot of anticipation to see Federer on his return. While his performance was below expectations, getting through was the most important thing as it allows the Swiss to work is way into the tournament. “I almost felt like I had to pace myself. I didn’t want to overthink every play. That was not the idea to come here and go mental about every point. It’s already great to just be here, trying to play with the guys.” he said in regards to his opening round win.
Things should get slightly more difficult for Federer if he advances with 10th seed Tomas Berdych the likely opponent for him. Berdych has competed well against Federer overall with six wins in 22 meetings although more pressingly for the Czech is that he has lost the last five including the last one at this tournament last year in straight sets. Meanwhile, Rubin will likely struggle to test Federer too much and may struggle with the occasion of a packed Rod Laver Arena.
Roger Federer in straight sets
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