Roger Federer confirms his return to the field at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha on 8 March. “The countdown towards Doha begins. One week to go,” the 39-year-old Swiss champion wrote on Twitter with a smiling photo during a training session.
Federer hasn't played an official match since the semi-final lost at the 2020 Australian Open, forced to stop for double knee surgery. Currently Federer, 20 Slam titles, is fifth in the ATP ranking. Marin Cilic recently spoke at length about Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, highlighting the similarities and the differences in their playing styles.
Cilic claimed that Nadal and Djokovic play each point as if it was their last, whereas Federer gives more importance to dictating the pace of the match.
Cilic on Novak Djokovic and Nadal
"Not saying that Roger Federer isn't (intense), but Roger is more focused on change of pace, change of speed," Marin Cilic said.
"He's having to rely a lot of his game - on a fast game, great serve, great forehand, you know, just mixing up the game and playing aggressive tennis and also playing fast. I will change the attribute fast to athletic, very athletic tennis in terms of stepping inside the court, coming to the net, being really really quick with his movements.
His sharpness is incredible." According to the Croat, you need to be mentally prepared to withstand a marathon clash against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic whenever you face them. "And Novak and Rafa are the best guys in tennis that create pressure," Cilic remarked.
"You're always feeling like they're pushing you and, and also depends on you how long you can resist, you know, if when you're playing Grand Slam matches against them, you need to be there for hours, five hours to be able to match them up."
With Novak Djokovic now just two Slams behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, many believe that the Serb - also the youngest of the three - will finish with the most Majors. And if such a situation does arise, many claim that Novak Djokovic will go down in history as the greatest of all time.
"You know let's say at the end of their careers it doesn't matter Novak Djokovic, Rafa or Roger is having the most Grand Slams," Cilic said. "I think it's gonna matter in the history of books, who had the most of Grand Slams, but, you know, they're all individuals.
And we all value our success differently. You know, for me, having one slam and having this great career I had, it's still incredibly good. And it's not easy to compare generations because it's been different tennis, different rivalries, you know, it's a lot of things different."