'When I chatted to Roger Federer the past year...', says former ATP ace

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'When I chatted to Roger Federer the past year...', says former ATP ace

The news was in the air but now there are no more doubts. Roger Federer, as noted, will start the 2021 season with the ATP 250 in Doha, scheduled from 8 March, and he will continue with the ATP 500 in Dubai. This is the latest big news on the upcoming programming of the Swiss tennis player with the Emirati tournament starting on March 15th.

In Dubai there will be among others Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev, Gael Monls, Denis Shapovalov and many other top 20. The last match of the Swiss champion dates back to 30 January 2020 when he was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the seminal for the Australian Open.

While speaking with Fox Sports, Rod Laver mentioned Roger Federer's stellar record as a reason to consider him the greatest - not only of this era, but of all eras.

Rod Laver on Roger Federer

While Roger Federer is absent from the ongoing Australian Open due to a knee injury, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are both through to the quarterfinals and could add to their title count this week.

"But give some of the other guys a little bit more time, maybe they’ll come up and meet and be as good as Roger," Rod Laver stated. "Djokovic is certainly on his way (along with Nadal), because he won a huge amount of tournaments and his consistency is amazing."

Roger Federer has been away from the circuit for almost a year, and is scheduled to return early next month at the Doha event. On Monday, it was announced that the 39-year-old had also entered the ATP 500 series event in Dubai, the week after Doha.

"Roger Federer, when I chatted to him the past year or so, he thought he’d play his best until he’s 40 and I think he’s pretty much on it," Laver said. "Unfortunately, you know, his knee has been giving him some trouble.

So he had an operation on the knee that will set him in good position." Though Doha is the smallest tier ATP event, it has long attracted an elite entry list. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have both won the Qatar ExxonMobile Open twice, Rafael Nadal once, and Federer has raised the golden falcon trophy on three occasions.

The field is loaded with 10 members of the Top 20 including world No. 3 Dominic Thiem, defending champion Andrey Rublev, Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka and Denis Shapovalov.