Roger Federer's return to the field is now getting closer and closer. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been away from the circuit for over a year, considering his last official appearance was at last year's Australian Open.
The Swiss phenomenon reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park, but a groin injury prevented him from playing his cards to the end against Novak Djokovic. Subsequently, the former world number 1 underwent a double operation on his right knee which caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Everyone hoped that King Roger could make his return to the Australian Open this year, but the Swiss decided not to risk it due to the imperfect physical condition (combined with the strict measures imposed by local authorities).
The 39-year-old from Basel will be at the starting line of the Qatar Open, scheduled from 8 to 13 March, and then he will travel to Dubai for the ATP 500 starting from 14 March (in the slot usually occupied by the Indian Wells Masters 1000) .
After the official announcement of Federer's presence in the United Arab Emirates, former WTA legend Martina Navratilova expressed her enthusiasm for the Maestro's imminent return.
Navratilova on Roger Federer
Martina Navratilova joked: "I think he just wants to stay in Burj Al Arab again, but amazing!
It’s great to see Roger Federer back, it’s about time for him sitting for over a year. So I’m glad he’s healthy and playing again”. Federer's decision to compete in the ATP 250 tournament will mean he doesn't have to over-exude himself should any injury issues resurface.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic is the defending champion at the United Arab Emirates tournament, but the 17-time Grand Slam winner hasn’t officially confirmed his participation in the 2021 edition. Leaving the Aus Open 2020 victory aside, everything about Djokovic brought him defamation.
The Adria Tour made him the center of all the negative comments from critics calling him highly irresponsible. Later, his winning streak came to a tragic end at the US Open 2020 after being defaulted from the event. All this followed by the worsening feud between him & Nick Kyrgios that decreased his popularity even more in Australia, his favorite slam venue.
Even the good that Novak tries to do brings no kindness to him in return. Firstly, he demanded better quarantine conditions for the players in Melbourne but faced the heat. Secondly, he agreed to cut the salary of this year’s champions to pay more to other players and made no headlines. It seems like his image will take a century to get better hereon.