In a loaded top quarter, the 20-time Grand Slam champion will face Australia’s Jordan Thompson or Pablo Andujar of Spain in the second round. If he can navigate his way through that match, Federer will likely face a difficult quarter-final encounter.
Federer shares the top quarter of the draw with Santiago champion Cristian Garin and former World No. 3 Marin Cilic. Fifth seed Garin will begin his title bid against Marton Fucsovics, while Cilic will meet #NextGenATP Swiss Dominic Stephan Stricker.
Garin has been one of the most consistent performers on clay in recent years. The Chilean has collected five ATP Tour titles on the surface since 2019, which includes his home triumph in Santiago this year. Federer has also faced tough competition against Cilic in the past. The Croat earned a straight-sets win against Federer en route to the 2014 US Open title and also pushed the Swiss to five sets in the 2016 Wimbledon quarter-finals and the 2018 Australian Open championship match.
Federer has also contested three tight ATP Head2Head encounters against Fucsovics in the past. This year’s Rotterdam runner-up pushed Federer to four sets at last year’s Australian Open and reached tie-breaks in his previous two matches against the 39-year-old.
Federer will be making just his second appearance of the year in the Swiss city and will be competing on clay for the first time since Roland Garros in 2019. The top seed returned to the ATP Tour for the first time in 13 months at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in March, where he fell to eventual champion Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals. Federer will be aiming to join Claudio Mezzadri (1987), Marc Rosset (1989) and Stan Wawrinka (2016-‘17) as the fourth Swiss player to lift the Geneva trophy.
Federer To Return In Geneva; When Is The Draw & More
Second seed Denis Shapovalov headlines the bottom half of the draw. The Canadian will hope to build on his strong third-round performance against Rafael Nadal in Rome this week, where he held two match points against the nine-time champion before falling a final-set tie-break.
Shapovalov will meet Stefano Travaglia or a qualifier in the second round. The 22-year-old shares the bottom half with fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov, 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini and eighth seed Adrian Mannarino.
In the second quarter, third seed Casper Ruud leads the way. The World No. 16 will face Tennys Sandgren or Salvatore Caruso in his tournament opener. Ruud, who is chasing his first ATP Tour title of the season, owns an 11-4 record on clay in 2021. The Norwegian has already reached three semi-finals on the surface this year in Monte-Carlo, Munich and Madrid.