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May 21, 2005

French Open: The Men's Challenge

Roger Federer (Switzerland)

Age: 23

Grand Slam titles: Four (Australian Open 2004, Wimbledon 2003 and 2004, US Open 2004)

Record at the French Open: 2004-third round, 2003-first round, 2002-first round, 2001 quarter-finalist, 2000-fourth round, 1999-first round

Widely considered the Tour's most gifted player, Federer demonstrated his sublime talents last season by grabbing three of the four Grand Slam crowns.

The one glaring omission from his collection in 2004, when he gathered 11 titles in total, was the French Open trophy. Having lost in the first round twice in the last three seasons, the man with the best all-court game will be wanting to rectify his rather gloomy record in Paris.

Federer's run in Hamburg last week, when he overcame Argentine Guillermo Coria and Richard Gasquet to retain his title, gave a clear indication that he can beat anybody on the slow surface.

Exceptional groundstrokes down both flanks and impeccable touch are hallmarks of his play and if he can get off to a good start the Swiss can win the title.

Photographs: Getty Images | Text: Reuters

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