Roger Federer will return to the pitch in Doha next week, ending a more than one year absence. In the absence of further hitches, the former world number 1 will also be at the start of the ATP 500 in Dubai, a tournament he has won eight times.
Many are wondering what the level of the Swiss phenomenon will be after such a stop and at the 40-year threshold. The new ranking system has allowed King Roger to stay close to the top positions, but it is already certain that the Swiss will lose 1000 points due to the forfeit in Miami (where he should have defended the title won in 2019).
The Maestro's main objectives will be Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, postponed by twelve months due to the global pandemic. These could be the last efforts of his extraordinary career, in an attempt to embellish his very rich showcase with another gem.
In a recent interview with Tennis Majors, Goran Ivanisevic warned that it would be a grave mistake to underestimate the 39-year-old from Basel.
Ivanisevic on Roger Federer
"I have played against Roger Federer and I have coached against Federer," Goran Ivanisevic said.
"One thing I have learned is that you should never write him off, so I won’t do it now. He is always dangerous, particularly at Wimbledon and to a lesser extent at the US Open," the Croat added. "If he is playing, that means that he is ready and when he is ready, he is an extremely difficult opponent to have."
Until February 2021, Djokovic led the head-to-head tally 27-23 against Federer. In the Swiss maestro’s defense, he had more than five years on him than the Serbian. Most importantly, they both carry an opposite yet invincible playing style.
While Federer plays with effortless-aggressive gameplay, Djokovic inspires everyone with his relentless spirit of a competitor. After winning the Australian Open 2021, the Serbian moved ahead of Federer in most Grand Slam titles on hard court (12).
Djokovic also crossed the Swiss maestro in 2020 by ending the season as year-end World No. 1 (6). To date, Federer has spent a record 310 weeks as No. 1 compared to Djokovic’s 309* weeks. Conversely, the record of 18-time Fan Favorite or bringing most audiences is some achievements the Serbian cannot cross.
Indeed, at 33, Djokovic has more left to add in his career against Federer at 39. Thus, the present and the next-generation might favor the Serbian over the Swiss maestro.