PARIS: Roger Federer returns to a brand new look Roland Garros on Sunday after a four-year absence, admitting he’ll be an underdog in his try to assert a 21st Grand Slam title.
The 37-year-old Swiss star is the headline act on opening day, 10 years after his one triumph in Paris and 20 years since his event debut.
Federer, who performed his final French Open in 2015, preferring to pay attention his powers on Wimbledon, begins towards Lorenzo Sonego, the world quantity 73 from Italy.
Third-seeded Federer insists that it will be a shock even to him ought to he handle to stop both Rafael Nadal from sweeping to a 12th title or Novak Djokovic turning into simply the second man to carry all 4 Slams on the identical time twice.
“I really feel like I’m enjoying good tennis, however is it sufficient towards absolutely the high guys when it actually involves the crunch? I’m undecided if it’s in my racquet,” stated Federer.
Play on a rebuilt Courtroom Philippe Chatrier begins with girls’s fifth seed Angelique Kerber taking up precocious Russian 18-year-old Anastasia Potapova, ranked at 81 on the planet.
Germany’s Kerber is searching for a Roland Garros title to finish a profession Grand Slam.
Nevertheless, the 31-year-old has been affected by an ankle harm and admitted she is just not sure how she is going to survive the rigours of two weeks on clay.
“Two weeks in the past I used to be not even capable of stroll actually good,” she stated.
Greek sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas can be on Chatrier, going through German left-hander Maximilian Marterer, the world 110.
Tsitsipas made the Australian Open semi-finals in January, beating Federer on the way in which.
NEW COURT SET FOR UNVEILING
The 20-year-old additionally defeated Nadal within the Madrid semi-finals earlier than falling to the Spaniard on the identical stage in Rome final week.
Second seed Karolina Pliskova closes play on Chatrier towards Madison Brengle of america.
The centrepiece court docket of Roland Garros has been demolished and 90% rebuilt since 2018 as a part of the 350 million euro refurbishment of the French Open’s historic residence.
Followers and gamers must wait to till 2020 to see the retractable roof in operation over the court docket.
Nevertheless, this yr sees the event bow of Courtroom Simonne Mathieu, a 5,000-capacity semi-sunken area enclosed by greenhouses.
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 champion, may have the honour of opening proceedings on the brand new court docket towards America’s Taylor Townsend.
Venus Williams, the 38-year-old American, faces Ukraine ninth seed Elina Svitolina on the identical court docket later within the day.
Williams, runner-up to sister Serena in 2002, made her debut in Paris in 1997.
“I’ve in all probability received one of many hardest attracts I may have gotten — Venus Williams,” Svitolina informed the BBC.
“I don’t know why I received this punishment!”
Additionally, in motion on the primary day at Roland Garros are Italian 16th seed Marco Cecchinato who shocked Djokovic within the quarter-finals in 2018.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, seeded seven, faces France’s Quentin Halys on the 30th anniversary of his coach Michael Chang profitable the title in Paris.
American seventh seed Sloane Stephens, the 2018 runner-up to Simona Halep, begins towards Japan’s Misaki Doi.