After more than a year of hiatus, Roger Federer could return to the field in Doha from 8 to 13 March for the ATP 250 in Qatar. To support him, with knowledge of the facts but without officiality, is Richard Krajicek, former Wimbledon champion today director of the Rotterdam tournament, a traditional indoor event that will take place this year the week before that of Qatar.
"I think Roger will play in Doha, the week after Rotterdam," Krajicek said. "But if he's actually fit and ready to play, he'll have to tell us." Meanwhile, in Rotterdam, Rafa Nadal confirmed his presence, returning to the Netherlands after 12 years of absence: should Federer decide to anticipate his debut, it would be a big party at the Abn-Amro Arena.
Federer won three times in Doha: in 2005 against his current coach Ivan Ljubicic, in 2006 against Gael Monfils, and in 2011 against Nikolay Davydenko. Roger Federer’s biographer and sports journalist Simon Graf recently appeared on the 'Tennis with an Accent' podcast, where he covered several important aspects of the Swiss Maestro's career.
Graf praises Roger Federer
Simon Graf shared an anecdote about Roger Federer's behavior off the court, dating back to 2013. "It was in Gstaad where he lost that match against Brands, in Switzerland," Simon Graf said.
"It was a big thing, they even gifted him with another cow. Roger Federer was back in Switzerland, he knew he wouldn't be 100%. I saw him warm up on the courts of the Palace Hotel. It was a terrible sight, he could hardly move.
He lost in straight sets against a not a great player. What I really was impressed with is how he behaved himself in the press room. Like he really did not want to talk, but people were really excited to see him on that stage," Graf added.
"So he got so many questions in different languages about his back. He didn't know himself, he did not know if he was getting better. It was a difficult year for him. But still he stayed there for almost half an hour and answered all the questions.
Afterwards there was a meet and greet, he did that as well. In his shoes I would've left immediately. I think he realized people were so excited to see him in Switzerland so he had to give back, even though he couldn't play well."
Meanwhile, Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, has clearly said that the management will start the Slam as per schedule. More positive tests, however, could hamper those plans. Will Tiley and his team be able to go ahead with the first Major of 2021 on February 8?