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

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee