Roger Federer produced an absolute masterclass as he coasted past Denis Istomin in straight sets to seal his progression through to the second round at the French Open in Paris.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion received a huge ovation as he was welcomed on court at the start of the match on Monday afternoon and he produced a performance to match the anticipation.
Among the stunning shots he produced in an opening set that frequently left Istomin looking baffled, Federer wowed the fans with a forehand winner that was almost round the net it was played from so wide on the court.
Istomin, a wildcard for the tournament, could never really get in the game on what was a hot and sunny afternoon in Paris and the Swiss was able to comfortably close out a straightforward win.
The 39-year-old had not played a Grand Slam match since the 2020 Australian Open and had managed only one clay court match in the build-up to Roland Garros.
Federer was cheered on throughout by the Philippe Chatrier crowd as he outplayed his opponent in what ended up being a 93 minute exhibition.
The Swiss missed last year’s French Open because of a knee injury and is appearing at Roland Garros for only the second time since 2015.
Intriguingly, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Federer are all in the same part of the men’s draw with Djokovic and Federer potentially set for a quarter-final clash.
Djokovic could take on Nadal in the semi-finals in Paris in what would be a repeat from last year’s final in the postponed autumnal edition.
The three most successful players in the history of the men’s game have won 17 of the last 20 Grand Slam titles between them.