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
News
people
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine