PARIS (Reuters) – Three-times major champion Stan Wawrinka crashed out of the French Open in the first round to Frenchman Corentin Moutet on Monday in his first Grand Slam appearance in 18 months.
The 37-year-old Swiss, who did not play for a year after suffering a foot injury early in 2021 and having surgery twice, paid the price for a lack of match practice with a 2-6 6-3 7-6(2) 6-3 loss in just under three hours.
“I started well and it was a good first set but unfortunately it was disappointing to lose,” Wawrinka told a news conference.
“Unfortunately this is the reality of how I play at the moment. I need training, a lot of work. I am playing well but not at the level for matches like that. This is the reality unfortunately of where I am.”
Wawrinka had only returned to action at a Challenger Tour tournament in March, yet it all started well for the Swiss, the winner in Paris in 2015.
He showed no lingering effects from his injury when he had to stretch in a full sprint to whip a stunning forehand down the line to earn a quick early break and go 3-1 up in the first set.
Two consecutive double faults by wildcard Moutet handed the first set to Wawrinka but the tables were turned with the Frenchman bagging the second set after mixing it up and charging to the net more often.
Moutet broke the Swiss again to take the lead in the third as Wawrinka’s first serve faltered and unforced errors began to rise.
“The frustration does not come from a comparison of my past level but because I know I could have done more and that some things did not go well,” Wawrinka said.
Moutet wasted two set points at 5-2 and survived a brief Wawrinka comeback before clinching the third comfortably in the tiebreak and racing through the fourth to book a spot in the second round.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)