"Every shot Roger Federer hits makes me feel like an awful tennis player" - Mats Wilander

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Mats Wilander heaped rich praise on Roger Federer following the Swiss legend's straight-sets win over Denis Istomin in the first round of Roland Garros 2021.

Federer dazzled on his Grand Slam return, producing an immaculate display to down Istomin 6-2 6-4 6-3. And while speaking on Eurosport, three-time Roland Garros champion Mats Wilander waxed lyrical about the 39-year-old and said he felt like he was in heaven watching his performance.

"Yeah (I was in heaven watching Roger Federer)," Wilander said. "I mean he's so graceful, it really looked like he hasn't been away at all first of all. But he's so graceful, everything he does - drop shots, the sliced backhands, the serve and volley - every single shot he hits makes me awkward, like an awful tennis player."

Wilander believes Roger Federer's best attribute is his ability to play within his limits. According to the 56-year-old Swede, Federer's measured approach in regards to shotmaking and movement around the court could help him remain on the tour for several years, provided he does not sustain a major injury.

"It seems that he does not sweat, he never gives the feeling of getting tired," added Wilander. "It is his best characteristic at the moment, at 39 years old. The key is that he perfectly masters the selection of his shots: he knows when he has to give everything and when he has to recover. He can win a game in less than a minute. If he doesn't have major physical problems, he can play three or four more years."

Wilander said Federer had shown no signs of decline in terms of movement, but acknowledged that a true test of the Swiss would come only against powerful strikers of the ball such as Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev.

"I see him move and move like seven years ago; I do not notice much difference compared to today," he added. "We would have to see what happens against very powerful players, like Sinner or Rublev."

I wish Roger Federer would play forever: Mischa Zverev

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Mischa Zverev, currently No. 277 in the world, joked that he would like to see Roger Federer play forever and described the Swiss' comeback match as "emotional and sensational."

"It's emotional, sensational, I feel like I've seen so many matches of Roger but every time he goes out there and I just took a picture of his interview, I just wish he would play forever," Zverev said. "He's a sight you don't want to ever miss. It was really nice seeing him out there."

Zverev, who was speaking on Eurosport alongside Mats Wilander, said he too felt he was in heaven while watching Federer.

"It was very fast and he could create so much, it's like you said - I was in heaven as well!" Zverev added. "He would use so many different shots, he knows how to win a point 10 different ways and he was using all of them."
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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