After 14 months, Roger Federer is back in action this week in Doha, entering the draw as the 2nd seed and facing Jeremy Chardy or Daniel Evans in the second round. The 20-time Major winner hasn't played since the last year's Australian Open due to a knee injury, undergoing two surgeries in February and May and skipping the rest of the season.
Turning 40 in August and not competing for over a year, Federer is aware that many questions are waiting for the answers in the next couple of weeks and months, as he can't predict his current form without competitive matches.
Roger Federer can't wait to play competitive matches again.
Roger said that the pain is under control and that he can play on a high level. In the past two months, Federer embraced competitive sets against the young Swiss Dominic Stricker and Daniel Evans in Dubai, saying his game is on a much higher level in comparison to October when he returned to the practice court.
Still, the Swiss can't make any predictions before the first official matches, as nothing can replace that competitive feeling and nervous moments when you have to play against break chances and endure challenging moments.
"The pain is completely under control. The greatest challenge is to trust your body again. You don't have time to think on the court; your opponent doesn't allow this luxury. And he also feels when you are not at 100%.
I believe that my level is good. Still, I can't be at my best because I haven't played any matches in a long time. It was essential that I could play for points and sets again for the past two months. Dominic Stricker came to Dubai for three weeks, and for the past two weeks, I've played about 20 sets with Dan Evans.
I'm in a wonderful situation in comparison to five months ago: I can play two and a half hours for five days in a row. I didn't expect that to be possible again so quickly. There are many positive things, but matches are different, especially when you get nervous and have to play against break points," Roger Federer said.