French Open: Even Roger Federer is quite happy with low-key Sunday opening

 

Roland Garros

It was business as usual as the French Open got under way here today. There was chaos on the roads, this time after demonstrators took to the capital's streets to oppose same-sex marriages; the approaches to Roland Garros were lined by ticket touts; Roger Federer started his 15th successive appearance at the tournament by crushing a Grand Slam debutant for the loss of only seven games; and Lleyton Hewitt lost a five-set thriller. Even the weather, which is often poor in the first week, conformed to tradition, although it was the cold rather than rain that contributed to a generally subdued opening day.

The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that starts on a Sunday, but it remains a half-hearted affair, with matches staged on just eight of the 15 courts that will be in use from today. Federer was one of those who disapproved when the early start was introduced seven years ago and recalls being "forced" to play on the opening day in 2006 "to promote their Sunday thing".

Federer pointed out that Wimbledon completes in 13 days the same number of matches that take 15 days to get through in Paris. "It doesn't make sense," he said. "But I'm happy this time around. I told them if they wanted me to play Sunday, whatever, I'm fine with it. They took that opportunity right away."

Perhaps it was the draw for this year's tournament that put the Swiss in an accommodating mood. Having beaten one qualifier, Spain's Pablo Carreno-Busta, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, Federer now faces another in India's Somdev Devvarman. He cannot play Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic before the final and is on course for a semi-final meeting with David Ferrer, who opened his campaign with a straight-sets victory over Australia's Marinko Matosevic.

Federer, who is two tournaments short of breaking Wayne Ferreira's record of 56 consecutive appearances at Grand Slam events, needed only 80 minutes to sweep aside Carreno-Busta, who won seven successive Futures tournaments earlier this year but has played just five events at tour level. Since 2004, Federer has won 36 of his 38 first-round matches at Grand Slam tournaments in straight sets.

Hewitt's meeting with Gilles Simon, a fellow marathon man, was always likely to go the distance, though the Australian veteran threatened to run away with the match after taking the first two sets in just over an hour. Darren Cahill, Hewitt's one-time coach, said on Twitter that it was the best he had seen the former world No 1 play for eight years.

Simon, however, won the next two sets and raced into a 5-0 lead in the decider, only for Hewitt to stage a remarkable comeback. He saved two match points when trailing 5-2, levelled at 5-5, but then lost the next two games as Simon took the match 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5.

 



Hewitt said afterwards that his main aim this summer was to be "fresh physically and mentally for the grass season". That is much the same goal for Andy Murray, who after withdrawing from the French Open because of a back injury has already started his preparations for grass.

Murray said in an interview with ESPN: "I've been doing three hours of rehab and treatment every day to make sure it's as good as possible for the grass-court stretch, but I still have a process that I'm going through with the back to try and build up my training and practices and see if I have any setbacks or not. I'm not doing any movement on the court yet. I did 15 minutes the first day, 20 minutes the second day, just trying to build it up very slowly. Hopefully, by the grass-court season I'll be feeling better, but it's a process I have to be patient with."

As Lead Partner of British Tennis, financial services company Aegon is helping to transform the sport, supporting the game at a grass-roots level through to world-class events. For more information please visit: www.aegontennis.co.uk

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen