Roger Federer, the return. For the first time in 14 months, the name of the Swiss returns to appear on a main draw: in Doha there is great curiosity to find out how the 20-time Grand Slam winner is doing after such a long break.
For the man who has won this tournament three times, the last of which 10 years ago, there is a bye in the first round to then face one between the British Daniel Evans (3-0 in the previous) and the French Jeremy Chardy (4-1, where 1 is the second round of Rome 2014).
The board is commanded by Dominic Thiem: the Austrian, who like other seeded players between 1 and 4 has a bye, but will have to pay attention immediately, since a second round with the Russian Aslan Karatsev is expected, the man who came from qualifying to the semifinal against Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open last February.
Overall, however, he was not even lucky given the names on his path. There is an Italian in the race, and it is Lorenzo Sonego: for him the challenge is against that Taylor Fritz with whom he took one of the best career victories in the third round of Roland Garros.
He won by three sets to zero with a long, grueling tie-break in the decisive set, which ended 19-17 in favor of the Turin player. There could be, in the second round, the rematch of Montpellier against the Belgian David Goffin.
Between bye and draws with qualified players, there are not many comparisons to steal the eye right away: perhaps the most promising ones see Serbian Dusan Lajovic and Hungarian Marton Fucsovics and Chardy and Evans. In a recent exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Tommy Haas spoke at length about his post-retirement activity in general, and the Indian Wells event in particular.
Haas also talked about Roger Federer's comeback to the tour after a year-long absence, Novak Djokovic's recent Australian Open win, and the ‘Greatest of All Time’ (GOAT) debate in both men's and women's tennis.
Tommy Haas reflects on Roger Federer's return
"We all can’t wait for Roger Federer to be back on tour competing, as I am certain he is very much looking forward to it himself. And I think at this point in his career, he wouldn’t get back out there unless he thought he truly had a chance to compete for titles and win.
I think he’ll be selective about his schedule, but if he is healthy come Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open, I would never count him out" - Tommy Haas said. Speaking of Federer and GOAT candidates, who do you think is the GOAT in women's tennis? "To me, it has to be Serena Williams.
To do what she has done at such an incredibly high level for so long, during one of the most competitive eras in the game, it has been incredible to watch and just incredible for the sport overall."