Roger Federer is very ready to make his return to the field at the ATP 250 in Doha this week. The 39-year-old from Basel has spent almost 14 months away from the circuit due to a double surgery on his right knee, but is now looking forward to showing off his magnificent tennis again.
The first obstacle in his path will be Dan Evans, who curiously was on the other side of the net even when the Swiss returned in 2017 after a six-month break. The former world number 1 does not have high expectations for this tournament, where he has won three times, but he would like to play at least a couple of matches before flying to Dubai.
King Roger did not want to unbalance his future planning, being aware that it will be necessary to observe how his physique will react at the age of 40. In his column for the newspaper L’Equipe, seven-time Grand Slam champion and former ATP number 1 Mats Wilander said that the Swiss adores tennis like no other player in the world.
Wilander praises Roger Federer's passion
"The fact that he returns at almost 40 shows the incredible passion that drives Roger Federer," Mats Wilander wrote in his column for L'Equipe. According to Wilander, while the Spaniard may have a special liking for doing battle on the court, Federer loves tennis itself in a way that nobody else does.
"I have never seen someone who loves tennis as much as he does. Rafael Nadal has a love for the competition, but Federer loves the game," Wilander asserted. Mats Wilander further went on to claim that even though Roger Federer's return at such an advanced age puts him at risk of being defeated by relatively unknown players, the Swiss is not afraid of the consequences.
"This comeback shows that Roger has guts," Wilander added. "He is not afraid of losing 6-1 6-1 against a rookie and damaging his image. Many would be, while Federer only thinks about solving his problems."
Despite Roger Federer not having too many expectations from himself at the Qatar Open, nerves will likely come into play in the first few rallies of the match. It is pertinent to note that Federer didn’t have the smoothest of starts in his official tour-level comeback match in 2017 (Hopman Cup matches don't count as official matches).
Facing Jurgen Melzer in the first round of the 2017 Australian Open, Federer needed two full sets to find his groove. but once he did, there was no looking back.