Roger Federer said he was “excited to be back on grass” after cruising to victory in his first match since withdrawing from the French Open to protect his body.
The record 10-time winner in Halle is back playing after battling past two knee surgeries in 2020.
He deciding to quit Roland Garros ahead of his fourth-round clash with Italian Matteo Berrettini after a gruelling four-set victory over German Dominik Koepfer.
But he kick-started his Wimbledon preparations with a 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 win over Belarusian Ilya Ivashka.
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“[I] had a tough moment early on in the first set when he had break points, so that was crucial to get out of those,” Federer said in his on-court interview.
“And then I played a really good tie-break, which I was happy about. I think as the match went on I started to create more opportunities and started to also calm my nerves a bit.
“I’m excited to be back on the green grass. And getting a win is obviously always very nice.”
Thank you Sir Andy, the feeling is mutual. You gotta love it 💚 See you on the 🌱🎾 https://t.co/6Jln8V6vSw
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Federer will now face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round in Germany.
He added: “I missed it. I hadn’t played a tournament [on grass] in two years on this surface.
“I’ve done the hard courts, I’ve done the clay and now [I am] on the grass. It’s been great being back here in Halle. I love playing here.”
World No 2 Daniil Medvedev’s Wimbledon preparations suffered a setback when he was bundled out by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.
Medvedev, who suffered a quarter-final exit at the French Open, will hope he rediscovers his touch on grass before he resumes his pursuit of a maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon starting June 28.
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