When Roger Federer stepped into the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, it was like time stood still. On Monday, the Swiss champion started his 18th Australian Open tournament, but there’s no doubt that this one had a special meaning.
It was Roger’s first official game since a knee injury took him off the court for more that six months. Of course, the 35-year-old tennis legend played this year at the Hopman Cup, an exhibition tournament, but nothing can be compared to the excitement of such an important match! And Roger didn’t disappoint his fans, they were waiting for his return like a 5-year-old waits for Santa.
His opponent, Jurgen Melzer, another 35 veteran, from Austria couldn’t manage Roger’s serves and excellent pace. The Swiss served 19 aces and came to the net 24 times, managing to win in four sets (7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2). He is now expected to play Noah Rubin (SUA) in the next round.
On the court, Federer was visibly happy and a bit excited, looking like a player who just won his first Australian Open match. The knee problem was the biggest health concern of his career and the Swiss is finally relieved that he can now play the game he loves so much. With 17 Grand Slam titles in his pocket, Roger hopes that he will be able to win for the fifth time in Melbourne.
If Federer won quite comfortably, his fellow Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka, played a five-set thriller with Martin Klizan (Slovakia). The reigning US Open champion won 4-6 6-4 7-5 4-6 6-4, but needs to improve his style, considering that a lot of stronger opponents are waiting ahead. Klizan was on a 12 defeats run.
Finally, the biggest surprise of day 1 came in the women’s bracket, where Simona Halep (ROM), WTA’s 4th, lost to Shelby Rogers (USA) in straight sets, 3-6, 1-6.