In recent months, many have wondered what Roger Federer's level will be when he sets foot on the pitch again. They will soon have the answer. The Swiss phenomenon will be at the starting line of the ATP 250 in Doha next week, a tournament that has seen him triumph three times (the latest success came exactly ten years ago).
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been away from the circuit for over a year, considering that his last official appearance dates back to the semi-final of the Australian Open 2020. Two surgeries on his right knee have tested the patience of the former number 1.
of the world, who also renounced the Down Under trip earlier this season. The 39-year-old from Basel has already made it clear that his main goals will be Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed by twelve months due to the global pandemic.
In a lengthy interview with Forbes, former ATP number 4 Tim Henman reiterated that it will not be easy for King Roger to return to the top level.
Henman reflects on Roger Federer
“For me, he's (Roger Federer) the most mesmerizing player we have probably ever had in our sport,” Tim Henman said.
Henman also insisted that fans should cherish their matches while they are still active on tour - something that is bound to be short-lived given their respective ages. “Tennis is blessed with some huge icons of the sport and of sport,” Henman said.
“Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, they're as big a star as you can get. So we're fortunate, but they're not going to be around forever. So it's important that we do enjoy them while they're still competing”.
Tim Henman, on his part, seems certain that Federer will be looking to compete at the highest level once he returns. The Brit claimed that it won't be easy for Federer to assert himself given his age, but that the Swiss still has the ability to 'work hard'
“His old level is so high, he's not going to come back just to be making up the numbers,” Henman said. “He wants to be back competing to win the biggest and best tournaments. And that's not going to get any easier as you get close to your fortieth birthday.
But he's working incredibly hard, I'm sure”. Coming back to tennis from knee surgery is not ordinary, but then again, neither is Federer. For that, the six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Henman admired Federer and remained confident that he is preparing for a great return.