Day two at The French Open 2019
The crowd gathered with silent fervor at the local tennis club in the isolated Swiss village of Felsberg, with mobiles held unstoppably in the palms of their hands while Roger Federer walked without heaviness over the deep terracotta surface.
It had been three years since Federer played his last tournament on clay; A hesitation of straight sets defeats Dominic Thiem in the third round of the 2016 Italian Open. He finished his season ahead of time due to serious injuries and missed the 2017 clay season completely after undergoing surgery on his left knee. Last year, as the pace of Roland Garros progressed, Federer spent his spring party in Ibiza with 40 friends to celebrate his wife's birthday. While Rafael Nadal and Thiem were fighting in the final of the French Open, he leaned back and watched from a beach club in Rome.
Before hitting a ball with his training partner during the week, Dan Evans of Great Britain, Federer was walking around the court with curiosity without his racket, advancing in landslides towards each corner. In the clay, the ball filters and spits from the surface in an unpredictable way, it can jump into the allergy or sink its teeth into the sand. The same goes for Federer's footwork, regaining his confidence as he slid on the reinforced tendons of his knee before the arrest of his fitness coach Pierre Paganini.