“Inspirational to Me” – Andy Murray in Awe of 39-Year-Old Roger Federer Playing to Empty Stands at French Open 2021

Published 06/06/2021, 3:35 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts during his third round match against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray tweeted on the late-night match featuring Roger Federer and German Dominik Koepfer, saying it was hugely motivating to see the champion show up before empty stands at the Philippe-Chatrier 12:30 AM.

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Making good on his promise to give Federer a tough battle and not go down easily, Koepfer pushed the 39-year-old to the limit before the Swiss eventually came through in four sets.

Just to illustrate how close the match was, three of the four sets went to tiebreaks, with the German winning one of them.

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“Not bothered by the outcome” – Andy Murray on Federer vs Koepfer

Murray, who tweeted at the start of the late-night tie, said irrespective of which way the match went, it was inspiring to watch someone coming off two knee surgeries to go to battle in a crowd-less arena well past the midnight hour.

“I’m not bothered by the outcome of this match at all. Just seeing Federer at 39 off the back of 2 knee surgeries playing to an empty stadium at 12.30am getting fired up is inspirational to me. Do what you (love emoji),” the two-time Wimbledon champion wrote.

Wary not to blink early, Koepfer stayed in the match through the early games. With neither player managing to break the other’s serve at the end of the regulation 12 games, the set went to a tiebreak.

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Roger Federer drew on his competitive juices to survive a tough four-setter

Federer managed a mini-break and came through the tiebreak to go a set up.

The second set saw both players breaking each other’s serve thrice in three games during a remarkable passage of play.

However, with the set deadlocked again at the end of 12 games, another tiebreak ensued.

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It was the German who had the better of the exchanges in the tiebreak this time as he secured a mini-break and held on to his lead to take the second set and draw level in the contest.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his third round match against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Showing that age has taken nothing away from his competitive juices, Federer spat on his palms, rolled up his sleeves, and grew into the battle as another set rolled into a tiebreak.

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Federer had a measure of Koepfer in the third-set tiebreak and cranked his level up a notch in the fourth to reach another round-of-16 at Roland-Garros.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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