After 14 months, the 20-time Major champion Roger Federer returns to action at the next week's ATP 250 event in Doha. Roger's last match came on January 30, 2020, in the Australian Open semi-final against Novak Djokovic, undergoing two knee surgeries in February and May and skipping the rest of the season.
In October, Federer hit the practice court and has been working hard for four or five months to get back at 100% and play competitive tennis again following the most extended break of his career. The Swiss couldn't recover in time for the Australian Open, staying away from the season's first Major and deciding to make the first return stop in Doha.
Roger flew from Dubai to Doha on Saturday and has practiced on Saturday and Sunday, shaping his game before the second-round clash against Daniel Evans or Jeremy Chardy. In the press conference, Roger spoke about various topics related to his recovery process and his main rivals, who have been very successful since he took a break.
Roger honored Novak Djokovic as one of the greatest players of all time and one of the rivals who have made him a better competitor on the court. Novak and Roger kicked off their incredible rivalry in Monte Carlo 2006 and have met 50 times on the Tour so far, with Novak scoring 27 wins, ten in the previous 14 encounters.
Roger Federer said nice words about Novak Djokovic.
Federer and Djokovic were the opponents in five Major finals, with the most recent one coming at Wimbledon 2019. It turned out into an open war, with Djokovic fending off two match points and prevailing in the decisive tie break to break Roger's fans' hearts.
Last year in Melbourne, Novak defeated injured Roger in three sets en route to the final and they could meet later this season again, on clay or grass this spring. "I enjoy playing against Novak. We have different game styles, and we always bring the best out of each other.
Novak can go in a mood where he is not going to miss. He is one of the greatest players ever, and he made me a better player," Roger Federer said.