Fans were delighted to see Roger Federer back on the pitch after the Swiss legend had been absent for over a year due to a double surgery on his right knee. The 39-year-old from Basel chose Doha as the venue for his return, but failed to go beyond the quarter-finals.
A positive result after all considering the very long stop, which still left a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth. The 20-time Grand Slam champion wasted a match point in the match against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who would later win the trophy in the final over Roberto Bautista Agut.
After the short expedition to Qatar, the former world number 1 has chosen to give up Dubai and Miami to carry out an additional training block. His main goals in 2021 are Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, although the Swiss has already stated that he wants to play some tournaments on clay.
During an interview with 'Livemint', former Indian tennis star Somdev Devvarman praised King Roger's incredible variety by comparing him to eternal rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Devvarman pays tribute to Roger Federer
"Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are also incredible, but people can’t do what they do because their physical and mental abilities don't allow it," Somdev Devvarman said.
"But Roger Federer, no one can do what he does. It’s a different kind of beauty. Just the way the ball comes off the racket. The guy can do 55,000 things with the ball on any shot." Mahesh Bhupathi, meanwhile, admitted that Roger Federer is unlikely to end his career as the GOAT.
"He’s not going to end up the greatest player, but he's the most beautiful player to come out of tennis," Bhupathi said. "If you compare highlight reels, then with Novak (Djokovic), he wins points he had no business winning because of his fitness.
With Rafa’s highlight reels, there’s always the amazing running forehand down the line which he bends in," Bhupathi said. "But with Federer, it’s always ridiculous half-volleys, or a half-volley backhand passes down the line, or a backhand flick cross-court.
Against Dan Evans (in Doha), after 13 months, who hits a backhand down the line at match point? Only Roger." At World No. 7, Roger Federer has his eyes set on Wimbledon Championships and Tokyo Olympics this year. For these reasons, he played only one tournament in Qatar, at the back of a 13-month long layoff due to surgery.