'The big X-factor is the movement for Roger Federer', says former No. 1

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'The big X-factor is the movement for Roger Federer', says former No. 1

The world of tennis has had to wait a long time, but the moment of the big comeback will come soon: Roger Federer will rejoin the circuit at the ATP 250 tournament in Doha in early March after a 13-month absence. The Basel champion confirmed this in an exclusive interview with SRF.

His last appearance dates back to the end of January 2020, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in Melbourne. “I have thought for a long time about when and where to return. Australia was still a little too early with my knee, "said Roger.

Federer had never given up on the Australian Open since 1998, 23 years ago. At this lap, however, he will miss the first Grand Slam of the season. "This hurts. It's one of my favorite places to play». The decision to return to Doha and not before and elsewhere has another reason besides his knee: "I wanted to make my return to a smaller tournament so as not to be in the spotlight and the stress would have been less"

Last year, the 39-year-old underwent two knee operations. In the beginning, it was also about seeing how his body would react. In any case, Federer will not try "morbidly to stay on tour" If he won't work with his family or his body, he'll say enough.

However, Federer already has concrete ideas on how the season should continue, should the knee hold. After Doha, he says he'll probably play another tournament and then focus on his beloved grass. "I will also try to play on clay again" said the Swiss Maestro.

Roger Federer may not be able to compete for future Grand Slam titles if he has lost his "X-factor" movement, according to two-time Australian Open and two-time French Open-winner Jim Courier. Federer underwent two knee surgeries last year, which ruled him out of the majority of the truncated tennis season.

The Swiss has already pulled out of the Australian Open, which is set to take place in February.

Courier on Roger Federer

"Roger Federer's wizardry with a racquet will be intact," Jim Courier said. "He will not have lost his racquet skills, but the big X-factor is the movement.

He had two knee surgeries, and the return couldn't come as fast as Roger and his team had hoped. Roger has played first-strike tennis for his entire career, and he could even increase if the movement is not there. Still, it will be tough for him to endure seven best-of-five encounters without a proper movement, which is what he is here for.

We should be grateful for seeing him on the court again; he is so fun to watch, and we all hope to see him playing as long as possible."