Roger Federer admitted he was relieved to have got his first-round match out of the way as his quest for a first French Open title got under way yesterday.
The world number one opened his 10th Roland Garros campaign with a 6-4 6-4 6-3 victory over 20-year-old Californian Sam Querrey on a rain-affected day in Paris.
The Swiss revealed he was feeling the pressure before the clash and was just glad to have avoided a major upset.
He said: “It’s hard, the first round of the slams there’s always pressure. He’s an up-and-coming player who has got a good serve and big shots. On the day you don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s why it’s sort of nerve-racking.
“Practice is one thing but today the atmosphere is different, the court full, the pressure is there. That’s why I’m sort of relieved getting through the first one. From now it should get a little bit easier.”
One man not following Federer into the second round is former French Open finalist Guillermo Coria, but his battling defeat to 12th seed Tommy Robredo offered him real hope for the future.
Coria, the runner-up here in 2004 when he lost to compatriot Gaston Gaudio in five sets in the final, has seen the last two years of his career ruined by shoulder and back injuries.
A former world number three, his ranking has dropped to 733 and he only entered this year’s draw at Roland Garros because he was given a protected ranking of 105.
But in his first grand slam event since the 2006 US Open, Coria was impressive despite his 5-7 6-4 6-1 6-4 defeat and insisted afterwards his problems were behind him.
“One month ago, I didn’t think I would be here at Roland Garros, and you know what that would have meant to me,” he said.
“But I took up the challenge and I can tell you the situation has changed.
“I’m back and I’m really eager to be on the tour.”
Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis was also upbeat despite becoming the highest seed to fall after he was thrashed by 6-2 6-4 6-2 Simone Bolelli.
The 17th seed, who is based in Paris, struggled badly after six weeks out of action for personal reasons.
But Baghdatis, who confirmed he will play Wimbledon next month, said: “I was lacking practice and matches but even though the result shows he had an easy win, I think I had some opportunities.”
In the women’s competition, third seed Jelena Jankovic was keen to distance herself from the favourite tag after struggling to a 7-6 (7/3) 6-2 win over qualifier Monica Niculescu.
Jankovic and Venus Williams – who needed three sets to see off Tzipora Obziler - were the leading players to progress in the women’s draw on day two.
The likes of second seed Ana Ivanovic and 2002 winner Serena Williams progressed on Sunday, but Jankovic does not believe she should be hoisted up into that company as the challenge hots up to succeed retired reigning champion Justine Henin.
“I don’t really look at myself as a favourite,” said the 23-year-old, who reached the semi-final here last year before losing to Ivanovic.
“There are other girls that are favourites.
“But I’ve been playing well the last few weeks on clay and I’m learning to construct the points.”