MADRID (AP) — Roger Federer looked as comfortable as ever on his return to clay.
Showing no signs of rust after skipping clay-court tournaments the last two seasons, Federer cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Richard Gasquet at the Madrid Open on Tuesday.
The fourth-seeded Federer needed less than an hour to win his first match on clay since 2016 and reach the third round in the Spanish capital.
“It feels good to be back on the clay,” Federer said. “I enjoyed it. Some of these rallies, where you get pushed to the side, you slide. You can play in a different manner than you do on the hard courts or the grass.”
The 37-year-old Federer skipped the clay season the last two years to make sure he was fit for the rest of the year. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is preparing to make his first French Open appearance since 2015. He has won two hard-court titles this season, in Dubai and Miami. He is a three-time winner in Madrid, with his last title in 2012.
The fourth-seeded Swiss converted his three break points and didn’t concede any to the 39th-ranked Gasquet at the “Magic Box” center court.