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Beyond the Baseline

Roger Federer was worried 'for like five seconds' before first match in Paris

Roger Federer had no problems in his first-round match at the French Open. (Matthais Hangst/Getty Images) Roger Federer had no problems in his first-round match at the French Open. (Matthais Hangst/Getty Images)

PARIS -- Roger Federer cruised though his first-round match at the French Open on Sunday, beating No. 88 Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 24 minutes. Federer is playing his record 58th consecutive Grand Slam tournament and 16th straight French Open -- at this point it takes a lot to rattle him in the first round.

"I wasn't nervous actually going into the match," Federer said. "It's more just like those hints of fear, maybe yesterday, maybe this morning at one point, just for like five seconds, 'Oh, I really hope I don't have to pack my bags today.' That kind of feeling."

The win was Federer's first as a father of four, after his wife gave birth to their second set of twins three weeks ago. Despite losing in the opening round of the Italian Open to Jeremy Chardy and abbreviated participation in the clay lead-up tournaments, Federer remains confident about his prospects in Paris. Tennis doesn't change from week-to-week and Federer cautioned against reading too much into weekly results.

In that vein, Federer says despite all the whispers about Rafael Nadal's vulnerability coming into the French Open, the eight-time champion is still the favorite.

"I think he's back on where he wants to be," Federer said. "He's played his matches he needs to play. He's even won one of the Masters 1000 at home in Madrid for him. So I think he probably is where he wants to be, in my opinion."

As for Novak Djokovic being tapped as the favorite?

"Not for me, but maybe for you," Federer said. "And three weeks ago he couldn't play tennis anymore, I remember that too. When he was injured, oh, my God, you know. Things are looking so terrible. Now everything is great. ... It doesn't go week by week. I don't know who's talking all the time, but Rafa is the favorite, and then Novak, and then the rest. It's very clear.

"But it doesn't matter who is the favorite or not. We will see in a few weeks."

Federer plays Argentine qualifier Diego Sebastian Schwartzman in the second round.

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