Switzerland's Roger Federer has suffered a shock exit in the opening round of the French Open tennis tournament.This content was published on May 28, 2002 - 19:34
Seeded eighth for the Grand Slam event, the Swiss number one was considered among the pre-tournament favourites following his Masters Series triumph in Hamburg earlier this month.
But in a rain-interrupted meeting with Moroccan world number 45 Hicham Arazi, Federer was far from being at his best with more than 60 unforced errors helping to hasten his departure from Roland Garros.
"Hicham played very well," Federer conceded after Tuesday's straight sets defeat. "The conditions didn't help and I was still tired from Hamburg."
After losing the first two sets 3-6, 2-6 and then surrendering a break in the third, the Swiss star was probably grateful when the weather forced a rain-check.
Once play resumed though, Arazi showed no sign of surrendering his lead - comfortably winning his last two service games to complete his 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory in less than an hour and a half.
"I am disappointed of course," Federer added, "but that's normal after losing in a Grand Slam event. I'm still feeling tired after the week in Hamburg which also took a lot out of me mentally."
Arazi paid tribute to Federer's performance in the Masters Series event and said he had expected the young Swiss to find the French Open tough following his Hamburg heroics.
"He played such an unbelievable final match against Safin in Hamburg," the Moroccan explained, "that I was kind of expecting him not to reproduce that kind of tennis."
Rain delay for Swiss women
The rain in Paris had earlier caused a number of matches to be postponed until Wednesday including the first round ties of Swiss women Patty Schnyder, Emmanuelle Gagliardi and Marie-Gaïané Mikaelian.
Federer's early departure made him the second Swiss to be leaving the French capital early. On Monday, Swiss men's number four Ivo Heuberger suffered a more expected defeat, losing in straight sets to reigning tournament champion Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil.