Some rust was expected when Roger Federer returned to the court for the first time in six weeks, but no one saw this coming: On Wednesday, in his first match since winning the Miami Open on April 2, the 18-time Grand Slam champion was upset by 39-year-old Tommy Haas, 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4, in Stuttgart.
It was just Federer’s second loss of the season after taking 19 of his first 20 matches—including titles in Melbourne, Indian Wells and Miami—to begin 2017.
Considering Haas’ age and ranking, and the way the match unfolded, it was a particularly shocking loss for Federer.
Haas, a former world No. 2 who's been on tour since 1996, plans to retire after the season. He played exceptional defense in this match, saving nine of 12 break points, and converted two of the three that he had. With the win, the German veteran improved to 4-13 against his longtime friend. Their first meeting was in 2000, at the Summer Olympics in Sydney—Haas won it, 6-3, 6-2—and this was his first victory over the world No. 5 since 2012, when he defeated Federer in three sets in Halle.
"I've even shocked myself a bit," said Haas, according to the Associated Press. "I'm a bit speechless. It's hard to find words."
Federer skipped the clay season entirely, including the French Open, to prepare for the grass and hard-court campaigns.
He’s next scheduled to play the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, which begins on Monday. Federer's last grass-court title came in Halle in 2015, and he's an eight-time champion at the event.
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