Roger Federer played 13 matches in 2021, reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals before undergoing his third knee surgery and taking another break from tennis. In March, the Swiss returned to action in Doha after being off the pitch for 13 months, working hard on his game during the longest break of his career and undergoing 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 prior to Doha, playing 20 practice sets and learning a lot about each other's game, which was evident on the court.
Both players saved three of four break opportunities, and Federer gained four more points to prevail with a late break in the decider - the only one in the entire match! Evans played another legend a few weeks later and took the best victory of his career on his least favorite surface.
The Briton arrived in Monte Carlo with four ATP clay victories under his belt, none since 2017! Despite that, Daniel found his A game in the Principality and eliminated no. 1, Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and six minutes to advance to the quarterfinals.
Novak struggled with the conditions and the opponent's slices and changes of pace to suffer the first loss of the season. He shot 28 winners and 45 unforced errors and couldn't find the moment, adding too many errors with his backhand wing.
Evans played better in mid-range exchanges and endured it all to beat Djokovic in straight sets and celebrate the most notable victory at 30.
Schwartzman reflects on the Big 3
Diego Schwartzman recently gave his thoughts on the dominance of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Schwartzman believes a change of guard is imminent, even though Djokovic is still operating close to his best. "It could be and it is logical that it will happen (end of the dominance of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal)," Schwartzman said while speaking to the media ahead of Argentina's Davis Cup tie against Belarus.
"Perhaps the illogical thing was that every year we asked ourselves how long they were going to keep on winning everything." Schwartzman then mentioned Next Gen stars Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, pointing out how they are steadily improving their level to challenge the Big 3.
"Afterwards, I think there are many very good players from a very young age, such as Rublev, Tsitsipas or Zverev, who took a while to mature in order to make that change," he said.