Many happy returns for Federer at 1st French Open since 2015

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Federer advances, Kerber and Venus are out on day one of The French Open.
Tennis Channel, for USA TODAY

PARIS (AP) — Roger Federer entered a refurbished Court Philippe Chatrier for his first French Open match since 2015, greeted by the sun peeking through the clouds and the full-throated support of spectators in their designer sunglasses, straw hats and sweaters tied over their shoulders.

Were it permitted, perhaps some ticket-holders would have embraced Federer right then and there, delivering a kiss on each cheek, as if reunited with an old friend at a sidewalk cafe.

Alas, the welcome was limited to wild applause and enthusiastic chants of his first name — “Roh-zher! Roh-zher!” — before and during a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory against Lorenzo Sonego of Italy on Sunday. The match lasted a mere 101 minutes yet Federer found enough time and space to sprinkle in some tremendous shot-making.

“The reception I got today was crazy. Was really nice to see a full stadium for a first round like this,” Federer said, comparing the atmosphere to that of a final.

“I feel,” he said, “that the public missed me. And I missed them, as well.”

His presence at the year’s second Grand Slam…

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