It has been exactly 400 days since Federer last stepped on a tennis court for a competitive match. On 30th January 2020, Federer was defeated by his arch-rival Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the Australian Open semifinals.
Much has changed in these 400 days. Roger’s records are constanly being broken by the other two of the “Big Three”.Rafael Nadal now has 20 grand slams,same as Federer.And Djokovic at 18 slams and still going strong is an even bigger concern.The Serbian world number 1 has also overtaken Federer’s record of most weeks as number 1.And to cap it all,the Swiss legend is nearing 40.
And yet, his return marks a kind of positivity in the tennis world that is hitherto unseen. Sure Nadal and Djokovic may be younger and perhaps fitter and yet the experts and the fans alike believe that Federer can give them a run for their money even at 40, that Federer can yet again win a grand slam.
“I just feel really pumped up,” says Federer
The Doha Open 2021 may well be only a Masters 250 event and yet there is no dearth of talent present at this year’s event.
Denis Shapovalov, David Goffin, who captured his fifth ATP Tour title at the recent Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Bautista Agut), and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, the 2008 Doha runner-up, will also feature at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.
But,the eyes of the entire world would only be fixed on Roger Federer’s return to competitive tennis.
The 39-year-old who underwent two right knee surgeries last year will compete in Doha for the first time since 2012. The Swiss has a 26-3 match record at the hard-court tournament and has two titles in 2005,2006 and 2011.
Before departing for Qatar, Federer said on Friday: “It’s been a year since my last travel to any event and I’m very excited.
This is the moment where I could maybe thank all the people involved who made this possible.
“It’s been a long and hard road. I know I’m not at the finish line yet, but it’s good. I’ve been practising very well and I just feel really pumped up.”he concluded.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion will face an immediate test in in-form Frenchman Jeremy Chardy or recent Murray River Open champion Daniel Evans in his return match. Chardy, who pushed Andrey Rublev to three sets in Rotterdam on Friday, has already reached two semi-finals this year and Evans climbed to a career-high No. 26 in the FedEx ATP Rankings last month.