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'I have never been out for 7 months': French Open is Federer's 54th Grand Slam event in row

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    Roger Federer of Switzerland gestures during a press conference for the 2013 French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May, 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (The Associated Press)

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    Spain's Rafael Nadal listens to a reporter during a press conference for the 2013 French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May, 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (The Associated Press)

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    Spain's Rafael Nadal attends the draw for the 2013 French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May, 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (The Associated Press)

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    Novak Djokovic of Serbia smiles during a press conference for the 2013 French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May, 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (The Associated Press)

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    Roger Federer of Switzerland gestures during a press conference for the 2013 French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May, 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (The Associated Press)

When the French Open starts Sunday, Roger Federer will be in his 54th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

That run dates to January 2000 and is the longest among active players. If he enters Wimbledon and the U.S. Open later this year, he'll tie the record of 56 in a row set by Wayne Ferreira from 1991-2004.

Federer says it reflects great stamina and an injury-free career. He's not simply showing up, of course: Federer has reached at the least the quarterfinals at the past 35 majors, winning a record 17 titles.

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, is returning to Grand Slam action at Roland Garros after nearly a year's absence, while past U.S. Open champions Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro both withdrew from the French Open because of health issues.