The Gonet Geneva Open draw is out, and Roger Federer will face either clay-court veteran Pablo Andujar or Aussie Jordan Thompson in his maiden tour-level outing at Tennis Club de Geneve Eaux-Vives.
The Swiss is playing his first match on clay since 2019 and will attempt to join fellow countrymen Claudio Mezzadri (1987), Marc Rosset (1989) and Stan Wawrinka (2016, 2017) as homegrown champions.
You can see his projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Pablo Andujar / Jordan Thompson
- Quarter Final: Marton Fucsovics / Marin Cilic
- Semin Final: Casper Ruud
- Final: Denis Shapovalov
Thoughts on the Draw
Update 17th May: Cristian Garin has withdrawn from the tournament, Daniel Altmaier takes his place in the draw as a lucky loser and instead qualifier Henri Laaksonen will take on Marton Fucsovics.
Just like Roger's comeback in Doha, none of us are privy to what sort of level he can bring eight weeks later. Still, we can assume he's put on some muscle, boosted his fitness and got plenty of practice sets under his belt since the loss to Basilashvili in early March.
With the ATP rankings virtually frozen, Roger is the number one seed in the draw, so he gets the luxury of a bye in round one before facing either Pablo Andujar or Jordan Thompson.
Andujar is an out and out clay specialist with all four of his career titles coming on the surface, and of his 146 career wins, 106 of them have been on la terre battue.
Thompson is more of a hard courter, and he's a typical Aussie battler that will give anyone a game but based on the experience, I'd pick Andujar to come through.
Interestingly Federer has never played either of them, which is quite a surprise considering Andujar has been on tour for 20 years, yet they have never crossed paths.
Given the Spaniard's love for clay, it's a tricky opening match for Federer, but you'd back him to come through as Andujar is not bringing anything out of the ordinary to the court other than an ok serve and baseline solidity.
Into the last eight, and with Garin withdrawing, it looks likely to be a shootout between Marton Fucsovics and Marin Cilic for a place in the quarter finals.
Both those guys first have to get past Swiss opposition with wild card Dominic Stricker facing Cilic and Henri Laaksonen taking on Fucsovics. I don't see the upset, however, and although the chance of facing Federer in the last eight should give some added motivation, there's no crowd to help them over the line and both Cilic and Fucsovics are well-accomplished clay courters.
Should Federer make the semi-finals, Casper Ruud will probably be waiting for him. Based on form, Ruud is the true top seed here, having made the semi-finals at two clay Masters 1000 events already this season.
Roger defeated the Norwegian handily at the French Open in 2019, but there won't ever be a better opportunity to chalk up a win against Federer here for Ruud, and on paper, he should make the final, assuming his wrist problems aren't limiting his baseline game.
As for the other half, Shapovalov is the top seed, and he struck the ball brilliantly in a match he should have won, but ultimately lost to Nadal in Rome so he's my favourite to make the final on that side.
If he can reign in the erraticism, then this is a good opportunity for him to add a trophy to the cabinet, which is looking significantly barer when compared to some of his contemporaries like Rublev and Tsitsipas.
Back to Federer, and like Doha, it's about getting some matches in. Playing on clay is a smart move as while not mine or many other fans cup of tea, it's the best surface to play on to develop your game and hit through the ball, which should bode well for the transition to quicker surfaces where Fed can let the talent take over.
What do you guys think of the draw? Let me know in the comments.