Roger Federer has been away from competition for over a year, having undergone double surgery on his right knee to resolve an injury that has plagued him for some time. On Wednesday, the Swiss phenomenon will make his debut in Doha against Daniel Evans, Jeremy Chardy's executioner in three sets in the first round.
The new ranking system has been crucial in allowing the former world number 1 to stay high in the standings, even though the 20-time Grand Slam champion has just overtaken Stefanos Tsitsipas in fifth place. The 39-year-old from Basel, who is also expected to participate in the ATP 500 in Dubai next week, has admitted that he does not have high expectations for the 250 in Qatar, where he has won three times in his career (the last in 2011).
In a recent interview with 'Radio Television Suisse', former ATP player Arnaud Di Pasquale - who snatched the bronze medal from Federer at the 2000 Sydney Games - analyzed the chances of King Roger at the age of 40.
Di Pasquale on Roger Federer
"Frankly, you can't say such things," Arnaud Di Pasquale replied when he was asked if Roger Federer was done. "Whatever he does, even if he crashes, nothing can taint his career.
Even if he were to lose all of his matches, nothing would change what he achieved. It is legendary. Either way, that won't happen." The former French player also cited Federer's past comebacks as he praised the 39-year-old's ability to 'reinvent' himself whenever he has faced a setback.
"I can't really define it, but there is clearly an expectation on my part, yes," Di Pasquale said. "Because for me, what explodes me with Roger Federer is that for 20 years we have always seen him come back, renew himself, reinvent himself.
And this although he has also known downs, less well. Each time, it's fantastic. Remember what he did in 2017?" Roger Federer’s much-awaited comeback match will be against his frequent training partner. Federer faces Britain's Dan Evans in the second round of the 2021 Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Wednesday.
Evans overcame the challenge of Jeremy Chardy in his first-round match on Tuesday, prevailing 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. The Brit conceded a mammoth 18 break points against Chardy, but managed to save 16 of them with some clutch tennis.
Interestingly, Federer and Evans have been training with each other for the good part of a month now. The Swiss recently revealed he has played about 20 sets with Evans, who has been helping Federer acclimatize to match conditions.