The entry list of the first 1000 category event of the 2021 season has been released. This is the Miami Open, a tournament that was not held last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The reigning champion is therefore still Roger Federer, who in the 2019 final overtook John Isner in the final.
The Swiss, who after more than a year of absence will make his return to the field in Doha (week 8-14 March), will be at the start of the Miami Open together with Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The presence of the Majorcan is sure, while Nole's is much more uncertain.
The world number one is currently in command of the entry list but doubts remain about his physical condition: the muscle strain suffered during the Australian Open could in fact force him to miss the American trip. While speaking with Rene Stauffer, Roger Federer's trainer Pierre Paganini made a startling revelation, explaining how Federer’s body has suffered significant degradation during this period - which is in sharp contrast to its condition during his 2016 injury hiatus.
Roger Federer has had to start from the beginning
"The big difference (between 2017 comeback and now) is, as he paused until Australia after Wimbledon in 2016, his muscles were actually always there," Pierre Paganini said.
"Now we had a total interruption and the muscles deteriorated considerably." Roger Federer came back from injury in 2016 and lifted two Majors in 2017, leading many to be hopeful of a similar output this time. Paganini hasn't ruled out that possibility, but his words suggest the task will be substantially more difficult for Federer this time.
"Without Federer's patience, the guillotine would have fallen long ago," Paganini added. "He depends on it (passion), and so do we! When a player who's almost 40 has to do exercises that a 70-year-old can do without any problems, and is happy that it gets better every day - if that's not passion (then what is).
The right knee had been causing him problems for several years," Paganini said. "But he had them under control, with adapted planning and specific exercises." Sharing details of Federer’s drills on his journey back to fitness, Paganini said that the Swiss player was filled with childlike joy when it came to jumping over the hurdles again.
“‘Hey, now it’s not the crutches anymore, it’s the hurdles!’. ” the fitness consultant quoted Federer as saying on crossing an important milestone in his comeback bid.