Roger Federer played 13 matches in 2021, reaching the Wimbledon quarter-final before undergoing the third knee surgery and taking another break from tennis. In March, the Swiss returned to action in Doha after staying away from the court for 13 months, working hard on his game during the most extended break of his career and overcoming two knee surgeries.
Roger made a winning start and beat Daniel Evans 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 54 minutes after a titanic battle. Federer and Evans had trained in Dubai ahead of Doha, playing 20 practice sets and learning a lot about each other's game, which was evident on the court.
Both players saved three out of four break chances, and Federer won four points more to prevail with a late break in the decider, his only in the entire match! Evans played against another legend a few weeks later and scored a career-best victory on his least favorite surface!
The Briton came to Monte Carlo with four ATP victories on clay under his belt, none since 2017! Despite that, Daniel found his A-game in the Principality and ousted world no. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and six minutes to advance into the quarters.
Novak struggled with the conditions and the rival's slices and changes of pace to suffer the season's first loss. He fired 28 winners and 45 unforced errors and could not find the timing, spraying too many mistakes from his backhand wing.
Evans played better in the mid-range exchanges and endured everything to overpower Djokovic in straight sets and celebrate the most notable victory at 30.
Roger Federer spoke about Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros.
Daniel fended off seven out of ten break chances and stole Novak's serve five times from seven opportunities, delivering better tennis in the pivotal moments to emerge at the top.
Federer and Djokovic shared the same quarter at Roland Garros, and Roger spoke about their potential clash following a commanding first-round win over Denis Istomin. Federer admitted he gained some motivation when Evans toppled Djokovic in Monte Carlo, as he previously defeated the Briton in his comeback match in Doha a few weeks earlier.
Still, Roger made it clear that he could not beat Novak at Roland Garros at that point and that he would have lost that potential clash in straight sets. As we all know, Djokovic went on to claim the second Roland Garros crown, while Federer withdrew after scoring three wins and reaching the last 16.
"Daniel Evans defeated Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo, which motivates me as I beat Daniel in Doha. It does not mean I would beat Novak in Paris, as he should beat me in straight sets, but my level is not that far from the players from the top," Roger Federer said.