French Open - 'Only Roger Federer hits this tennis shot, he's unbelievable' - Wilander left stunned by Fed
Eighth seed Roger Federer was at his very best as he cruised past Denis Istomin, 6-2 6-4 6-3, to secure his place in the second round of the 2021 French Open. The Swiss superstar's return to court in Paris was hotly anticipated and he did not disappoint with a performance that could hardly have been more impressive. Mats Wilander gave his verdict in the Eurosport studio.
'Only Federer hits this shot, he's unbelievable' - Wilander stunned by Fed magic
But it was the deft chip to the back of the court, disguised as a drop shot, which most impressed Wilander - as demonstrated in the video above - as he analysed the eighth seed's game.
"This is just cheeky, now. If somebody does this to me..." Wilander said on Eurosport. "Roger gets exactly the effect he wants to get here. You don't want to hurt your opponent, but that's the effect you want [wrong-footed at the back of the court].
"He thinks the drop shot is coming, his knee kind of hyper-extends and then of course he is trying to get to his forehand.
I mean, it's an unbelievable shot. Only Roger Federer hits that shot actually these days.
'I was in heaven, Roger is just so graceful' - Wilander reacts to Federer win
"It felt like I was in heaven. Roger is just so graceful, it really looked like he was never away, first of all. But he is so graceful, everything he does – the drop shots, the sliced backhand, the serve and volley.
"Every single shot he hits makes me feel awkward, like I am an awful tennis player. It’s unbelievable how you can play tennis like that.
"I think shot selection for Roger Federer is very important, because it is a little bit slippery, we saw him slip a bit today, it’s important that when he has the opportunity to do something with the ball that he puts enough spin on it so that the ball doesn’t come back to him as quickly. He needs to be in control of the point, he needs to hit enough spin so he is not attacked by his opponent."
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.
Eurosport's experts gave their predictions for how far Federer could go in this year's French Open in the video below...
Will Federer reach second week of French Open? Eurosport's experts give predictions...
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Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title at his favourite event and 2020 Roland Garros sensation Iga Swiatek aiming to replicate her stunning triumph.