Roger Federer-a name which inspired generations, enthralled even geniuses and mesmerized all from a young boy in Japan to the great Andre Agassi. And yet, Roger Federer is not just a name, it’s a phenomenon, a phenomenon that goes hand in hand with tennis for a vast majority of people.
For the last year or so, tennis fans were greeted by reality, an extremely harsh reality. The reality of tennis without Federer. In his absence, there was a Djokovic juggernaut, a Rafa masterclass and a NextGen ascend, and yet none of them could fill the gaping void that the absence of Swiss maestro created.
But, all that is past now and in what will be music to ears of his fans and rivals alike, Federer has announced his return to the tour at Qatar Open and triumphantly declaring that this is not the end of his fabled tale.
“Retirement was never an option” says Roger
“I just feel like the story is not over yet… I would like to get that high of playing against the best players, playing at the biggest tournaments, winning them, hopefully, and being in the conversation,” said Federer.
The former World No. 1 will make his return at an event where he has achieved consistent success. Roger is a three-time champion in Doha with a 26-3 tournament record. Eighteen years after his tournament debut, the Basel native is excited to be back playing at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.
“I am very happy to be back playing a tournament again. It has been a long time,” said Federer. “I never thought it was going to take this long. I came here to Qatar in 2003… for the very first time and I always enjoyed playing here… It is exciting to be back, seeing all the players again… I am looking forward to the start.”
Federer said that the complications that followed his knee surgery motivated him to get back in form.
“I feel there is still something — retirement was never really on the cards. I don’t mind doing rehab.“
On Nadal and Djokovic-
On his rivalry with Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, who this week overtakes his record of 310 weeks as world number one in men’s tennis, Federer said “it’s a great debate to have”.
“I think what Novak and Rafa have done of late is extraordinary – they’re not 25 either,” he said with a smile.
“Novak did it in Australia, Rafa did it at The French — they seem at their peak which is great for tennis and for the debate.
My concern is my own health, my own game (more) than the record.”Roger concluded.