Federer returns, Rafael Nadal still favourite in French Open 2019

Roger Federer returns to the French Open for the first time in four years to challenge Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s bids for more records.

Nadal is chasing a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title, while Djokovic can become the first man in the Open era to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once for a second time.

Federer, 37, missed the 2016 event with a back injury and skipped the past two clay-court swings to preserve his body.

The event in Paris begins on Sunday.

Swiss Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, reached the Madrid Open quarter-finals this month in his first clay-court tournament in three years.

“I feel good about my game. I feel good on the clay,” he said.

Federer appears to have shaken off the leg injury that forced him to pull out of his Italian Open quarter-final last week, coming through a practice session on the Philippe Chatrier show court at Roland Garros on Tuesday without any strapping.

Serbia’s world number one Djokovic is expected to provide the sternest challenge to Spaniard Nadal, while American Serena Williams will aim for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title in the women’s singles – if she is fit.

Former world number one Andy Murray is not playing as he continues his recovery from a hip operation, leaving Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund as Britain’s leading hopes.

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