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Bin the beard: Buzz over Federer’s face fuzz

Roger Federer was sporting a new look for his US Open opener against Sumit Nagal, but given his performance he insists it won’t be hanging around.

The Arthur Ashe stadium crowd’s collectively jaw was on the floor after the first set of Federer’s opening round clash against the little known Indian - ranked 190 in the world.

No sooner had the greatest of all time had dropped the first set 4-6, silence fell around the stadium.

Were they about to witness what seemed impossible?

No way.

The five-time champion in New York soon got things back on track to clinch his 1,224th career victory and book a meeting with Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur beating Nagal 4-6, 6-1,6-2, 6-4.

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Asked about how the match went, Federer was frank: “I had to try and forget it (the first set), it was tough.

“Things were looking good for me but he came back and credit to him for that. My serve let me down but it all came back just in time.

“It’s a mindset thing really, it was a relief to get through it.”

Quizzed about his unshaven face and whether this was a new look he would maintain through the tournament, he added: “No, I played like my beard today - I was rusty so I gotta shave it off for the next match.”

The Swiss maestro arrived in New York off his fastest loss in 16 years, falling to Andrey Rublev in the Cincinnati third round in only 62 minutes.

“Cincinnati might be a good thing that I lost early. Who knows?” said Federer. “It’s maybe one of those things that sometimesneeds to happen, like when I won at the Australian Open, went to Dubai, lost first round in ‘17, then went on to win IndianWells and Miami.

“Played a great Wimbledon. Needed to get knocked down in Cincy, get my act together, train hard. That’s what I did.”

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