French Open 2019: Roger Federer makes winning return

CNN  — 

If you were a 37-year-old at the French Open Sunday, it was a day to remember.

Roger Federer made a winning return to the clay-court grand slam after a three-year absence while Nicolas Mahut added to his noteworthy accomplishments after losing the longest tennis match in history, overcoming a two-set deficit to defeat last year’s surprise semifinalist Marco Cecchinato on the new Simonne Mathieu court.

By returning to the French Open this year after a three-year absence, Roger Federer is spreading his milestones across the tennis world.

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Federer’s own career, one in which he leads the men’s grand slam count on 20 and remains a viable threat at majors despite his advanced tennis years, has been inspiring too.

That is, of course, a huge understatement.

Playing for three decades – he will probably reach a fourth – Federer first began as the young, temperamental upstart.

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He soon became the most dominant player in tennis, later overtaken by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and subsequently overcame a loss of form and injury to engineer one of the most dramatic comebacks in sport at the 2017 Australian Open.

Being, thus, accustomed to almost every scenario possible in sporting terms, Federer found himself in rather unfamiliar territory Sunday in coming back to a major following a lengthy, lengthy pause.