Roger Federer recalls: 'It feels great to win a match on grass after two years'

A year ago, Roger Federer withdrew from Roland Garros to preserve his knee for his beloved grass swing. 

 Competing on grass for the first time since that epic Wimbledon 2019 final, Roger made a winning start in Halle, chasing the 11th title at one of his favorite events.

Roger took down Ilya Ivashka 7-6, 7-5 in an hour and 34 minutes for the milestone 70th triumph in Halle and a place in the second round. 

It was Federer's seventh match in the last 16 and a half months, struggling with a knee injury and slowly making a comeback.

After competing on hard and clay this year, it's great to be back in Halle; I love playing here. It's disappointing not to see a bigger crowd, but I'm excited to play on the green grass

Unlike on clay, you can count on more service winners and shorter rallies on grass, with more guessing on both serve and return.

I had a tough moment in the opening set, and saving those break chances was crucial ahead of the tie break, which I played well.

As the match went on, I tried to make more opportunities and calm down a bit. I served well, and I'm thrilled to pass the first round and make a winning start

My initial shot has been working well since I returned, and I have to focus on my legs, the match fitness and the right decisions," Roger Federer said.